This post discusses the problems caused by the economic disparity in Pakistan. i.e. provincialism, terrorism, illiteracy, dual and low-quality education, compromised health.
The term ‘economic disparity’ refers to the difference in economic status and living standard of people, groups of people, people of different provinces, districts, etc. The economic disparity also exists on basis of gender, race, regional, religious, and ethnic discrimination.
The problem of economic disparity causes a multitude of problems as discussed below:
In the case of Pakistan, less developed and small provinces have been complaining of injustice in the distribution of resources. For them, the country’s largest province, Punjab is responsible for their underdevelopment and economic miseries.
The inequity in the distribution of resources gives rise to the issues like provincialism in which politicians keep their provinces paramount over the country. Consequently, the politics of blame game between provinces and point-scoring becomes prominent rather than the politics of addressing the issues of the public.
The threat to national integration
Pakistan is a federation. Different regions with all their distinct cultures, languages, histories, etc. are part of one state under the very notion of ‘protection of economic and political rights under the same umbrella’. But, the existence of economic disparity among different regions tells us another story. It informs us that the state does not ensure the protection of socio-economic and political rights and interests on basis of equity.
Separatist tendencies and movements may surface as a result of injustice and exploitation causing a threat to national integration. For instance, Pakistan disintegrated in 1971 mainly because of the economic disparity between the East and West wings of the state. East Pakistanis felt their due share of wealth was not provided. They held West Pakistan responsible for all their economic miseries and problems.
Crimes and Terrorism
A proportion of poverty-stricken people in the underdeveloped regions resort to crimes such as abduction for ransom, bank dacoity, murder on the booty, robbery, etc. as they increasingly feel alienated and disappointed.
Similarly, one of the social evils associated with economic disparity is committing suicide. According to research, 75% of suicides occur in low and middle-income societies.
Terrorist organizations also recruit young people from underdeveloped and economically underprivileged areas and sections of society. The terrorist networks recruit these young people in the name of free education, food, clothing, and other beautiful hope-giving rhetoric. With the passage of time, they brainwash until these young to carry out activities related to terror.
Illiteracy and low-quality education
The distribution of schools differs from region to region. The villages have comparatively a very small number of schools vis cities. Similarly, there are few or no colleges and universities in rural areas. In order to pursue higher education, students need to go to cities and other regions.
The students going to other regions and cities make a very small percentage of the total student body aspiring for higher education. The majority cannot go to cities because of poverty. The huge expenses that they will have to incur to meet residential, educational clothing, and food needs away from home discouraged village students to move to cities for higher education.
Similarly, there are limited or no vocational training centers, technical and poly-technical institutes to produce a skilled workforce for different fields of life. Consequently, people of underdeveloped areas always lag behind in education.
People in underdeveloped regions do not have access to quality and basic health care facilities. The mortality rate of women and children is high. In critical conditions, deaths occur on the way as the patients are rushed to hospitals in far-flung areas. The majority of people cannot afford to go to other regions for treatment as they cannot afford it.