‘Rising poverty’

This is apropos a Business Recorder op-ed “Rising poverty” carried by the newspaper yesterday. The writer, Dr Hafiz A Pasha, in his conclusion, has argued that “The tragedy is that the incidence of poverty in Pakistan may be back to the level that prevailed over a decade ago. The IMF Programme must have a human face and enough fiscal space created for strong anti-poverty interventions. Otherwise, the process of implementation of deep and wide-ranging structural reforms may be frustrated by the rise in public discontent.”

The IMF policy actions, in my view, strongly resonate with what David Harvey, a British-born Marxist geographer and professor of anthropology and geography at the City University of New York, aptly describes as accumulation through dispossession. The rise in poverty in the country constitutes a question for the incumbent government to answer. It must be noted that prime minister Imran Khan often claims that he has drawn a valuable lesson from China’s experience of lifting over 600 million people out of poverty. No doubt, China achieved this feat through its focus on agriculture and rural affairs. The question, however, is: How does our prime minister explain the current rise in poverty in his own country?

Karachi Naqi Zafar