Reference to the column “Hunger and Poverty in Pakistan” by Muhammad Waqas, it is not the only country which has one third of its population living below the poverty line. Sadly, today, 50 percent of the world population, i.e. three billion people are forced to make a living on less than $ 2.5 a day and more worse, 20 percent human beings try to survive on less than $ 1.25 a day. Strange, it may sound, between 75-80 percent of poor in both the categories live in the countries which are classified as “Middle Income Group” countries. This reflects nothing but the fact that the benefits of developmental policies in these countries are not reaching the poorer sections of the society.
Even today, more than 20,000 children die every day in different parts of the world due to hunger, under nourishment, lack of medicine, unavailability of clean water, poor sanitation and similar reasons chiefly associated with poverty. In other words, every 12 days, the world witnesses a tsunami of 2004 scale. As these casualties are silent deaths, we hear no voice or rather we try to keep our ears closed.
I had read in this very newspaper two weeks ago that as per the recent report by Oxfam, a UK based NGO, actively involved in fighting poverty, the annual income of 100 richest people in the world is sufficient to wipe out poverty, not one time, but four times over.
However, I am not for once suggesting that we should snatch their wealth and use it to eradicate poverty. I am just highlighting the fact that the amount required to eliminate poverty is not beyond our reach. One of the directors of Oxfam, Ben Phillips, was quoted as saying, “the gap between the rich and poor has got so much widened that one of the obstacles to solving extreme poverty now is extreme wealth.” — Safi H. Jannaty, Dammam