VOICE of the VOICELESS By Muhammad Zada

Muhammad Khan is an integral member of our team. Although not ‘literate’ in the conventional sense of the word or ‘educated’ by the standards of the privileged few, he has the brilliance and motivation to handle perhaps the most radical section of our magazine: ‘Opinions of the Oppressed’.

What is the root cause of poverty in our society?

Results . . .

“The reasons for poverty in our society are firstly lack of education, secondly increasing population and finally education without skills. Education gives us consciousness and when education will be coupled with skills, only then students will be able to earn their bread.”

Parveen Ghuryani, Social Organizer

“Lack of education is the biggest cause of poverty in our society. The second reason is absence of peace because due to the weak grip of law, terrorism (dehshat gardi) and destruction (takhrib kari) flourishes and investors avoid investing in the country. This is how unemployment rises and poverty increases.”

Naheed Khan, Accountant

“One of the important causes is the tyrannical power of the feudal system. Similarly, in the tribal context, the chieftain system (sardarana nizam) is dominant. The despotic rulers in villages and tribes do not want to decrease the level of poverty in their domains to keep their control forever. Also, they are against the promotion of education amongst the masses.”

Salma Khan, Social Organizer

“Another cause of poverty is the deficient (naqis) political system of our country. The majority of politicians do not want to eliminate poverty and, therefore, no government has given serious attention to this issue. Similarly, the bureaucracy also wants poverty to thrive. I would also like to say that one particular segment of our society wants to limit education to itself and does not want the elimination of poverty in order to maintain its influence.”

Sumbul Khan, Housewife

“The deficient policies of the government are the root cause of poverty in our country due to which wealth has been limited to a few families only. As a result, the rich are becoming richer while the poor are getting poorer. Also, the environment is not conducive to investment. Even those who had invested previously in the country are now shutting down their businesses and unemployment is on the rise. In my view, this is the root cause of poverty in our country.”

Ghafar Khan, Semi–government employee

“I think the following are the reasons of poverty in our country:

Lack of education — even if education is accessible the fee in private schools is so high that it is beyond the reach of common people.

Refugees entering the country are far beyond our capacity to accommodate.

Particularly, in the case of Karachi, poverty is the result of the wrong policies of the government; for example the abolition of the mill area, the development of Port Qasim instead of a seaport, development of Gowadar and levying heavy taxes on industries incapable of paying them. For all these reasons poverty is increasing day by day.”

Irshad Ali Khan, Clerk

“People do not get their rights, salaries are low and expenses are high. Poor families live in rented houses so how can these expenses be met? That is why people are so tense and poverty is increasing and resulting in evil and terrorism. Parents ask children to earn money but how they can do so when such conditions prevail?”

Ashfaq, Electrician

“First of all, unemployment, and secondly, those who are employed get very low salaries that cannot meet their needs. The government should decrease inflation and provide employment. I earn 3000 rupees per month, which means 100 rupees a day. In 100 rupees, I can hardly afford to buy vegetables and other basic necessities. We should at least get 6000 rupees a month, so that our basic needs can be met.”

Mohammed Iqbal, Naib Qasid

“Poor people do not get employment. Banks give loans to big people and not the poor because they cannot give sureties. If people could get loans from banks and start businesses they would progress and this is how poverty would decrease.”

Mohammed Hayat, Peon

“The root cause of poverty in our society is injustice. Investors fill their safes by sucking the blood of the poor and the poor are becoming tight–fisted (tang dast) day by day. Our present economic and education system is increasing poverty in society. Our population is increasing but our rulers have no clear (wazeh) economic policy. Plans are made but they are not implemented. We have a 55 years old education system, which only produces clerks and servants. We have separate education systems for the rich and poor. Technical education is beyond the reach of the poor that is why we are producing a force/an army of unemployed youth.”

Ayoob Shan

“The root cause of poverty is that the education system in Pakistan is of two types. Children from rich families get education in wonderful schools and poor people do not have the resources to get education, their children do not even get bread, cloth and shelter. They are occupied with such problems so they cannot acquire a quality education, which the children of rich people have access to and that is why there is always a gap between the rich and poor. The deficient education system and the difference between the rich and poor are the reasons of economic difficulties. Only rich children get education in society and reach important positions. They easily take bribes and promote nepotism and evil.”

Sardar Manzoor Hussein Khan, H.R.C.P.

“The root cause of poverty in society is that everybody wants to become rich by suppressing others. That is why everybody is worried. Secondly, as Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said if all Muslims would pay zakaat, which has been enjoined upon Muslims by God, poverty would eventually be eliminated from society. But today everybody is unaware of religion and nobody understands his or her way and everybody wants to become rich and accumulate more wealth.”

Muhammad Sawab Khan, Showroom Owner

“The root cause of poverty is the deficient policies of the government. We work from morning to evening and just earn 150 to 200 rupees a day. The government does not think how we can meet expenses while fixing maximum wages up to 200 rupees or salary up to 3,000 rupees per month. They should calculate it before fixing the amount. How can a poor family survive in just 3,000 rupees a month?”

Mohammed Ishaq, Transporter

“Poverty is the result of the wrong policies of the governments which have failed to protect the interest of the poor people. All governments have provided incentives and advantages to rich people. Similarly, rich people have benefited well–off people rather than the poor.”

Shamim Khatak

“The first reason is that education is not common amongst the masses. Therefore, undesirable people come to power and are not questioned. They corrupt the system. If people are educated, they would elect the right people, poverty would be eliminated and our country would progress.”


“The root cause is that our politicians have looted the country with both hands. Therefore, today our country is burdened with debts and poverty. If one percent of the dollars, which have so far come to this country, was spent on the public we would not have a single poor person in the country. We should catch all the politicians and hang them upside down and recover all the money from them. This is how we can get rid of poverty.”

Mohammed Ashraf

“I think the cause of poverty in society is the violation of the rights of the poor. No poor person is given his or her rights completely and rich people control their rights like a dragon (azdaha). The salaried employees put in more work and time and yet only few of their rights are granted to them. This is the reason why poor people are becoming poorer.”

Habibullah Buneri, Clerk

“One particular cause of poverty is unemployment. Because of the high population in the country, people do not get adequate opportunities to purchase more in less income. If there are good job opportunities, only those people get hold of them who have influence (sifarish). This increases unemployment in the country and results in poverty which in turn affects the majority of people in our country.”

Ghulab, Social Worker

“As far as poverty in society is concerned, I think the first cause of poverty is lack of education. If people are not educated they will not be able to benefit from different sources. Secondly, economic stability significantly influences a society. Corruption, instability and chaos are negatively influencing the lives of the people. I think the third important reason is that without unity, society would never progress.”

Shahid Al



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