University of Birmingham (UK)
Poverty is one of the most serious problems in Pakistan. Numerous efforts have been made to assess poverty in Pakistan, each with a different methodology and approach. Likewise several programmes have been launched by the Government of Pakistan to reduce poverty, mostly with the support of international donors. A predominant strategy adopted by the Government of Pakistan as a poverty reduction measure has been economic growth. Little work has been done to critically evaluate the poverty reduction strategies of Pakistan and this research is an attempt to start filling that gap.
The work starts with a review of literature on poverty and poverty reduction. Multiple concepts and aspects of poverty are explored to get a clear understanding of poverty at a theoretical level. Major poverty reduction frameworks and strategies are also illustrated as suggested by various scholars. Some general guidelines for poverty reduction are drawn from the experience of developing countries.
The second chapter is an attempt to estimate poverty in Pakistan. Although poverty, as defined in the first chapter, is a subjective phenomenon, statistical data are also important. Hence poverty Pakistan is painted through facts and figures in this chapter. It is broken down by region, province, sector and gender. I have presented this as ratios and percentages where there is a general agreement between researchers. Here, It is important to note down the trend to increased poverty in the 1990s. The politico-economic factors causing this are included.
The third chapter is an overview of poverty reduction strategies adopted by the Government of Pakistan in the last four decades and in the 1990s. I have also mentioned some of the major causes underlying the success or failure of these programmes. The shift of approach towards poverty reduction made by the Government in this decade is noteworthy.
The fourth and final chapter is important. The government’s perception and approach towards poverty is critically analyzed. Major flaws in the theoretical and practical approaches to poverty reduction and pointed out. Politico-economic propositions made by various scholars on poverty are used as guidelines to assess the poverty reduction strategies of Pakistan. Lessons learned and insights gained by the poverty reduction programmes in other developing countries are also referred to know their complications for poverty reduction in Pakistan. Although no explicit recommendations are made, some suggestions and recommendations are indicated in the general conclusion.