—Fatima S Attarwala
—Fatima S Attarwala

Pakistan has many economic strata — those who can afford six-figure Eid clothes without batting an eye and those who are among the least paid globally.

A comparison in dollar terms of the average monthly salaries of different countries places Pakistan among the bottom three. The data, extracted from information provided by contributors to the numbeo.com website, is all the more startling because the numbers were input by people with access to the internet, technology, and enough literacy to navigate the World Wide Web.

At around $180, or around Rs50,000 a month, an average salary is barely enough to meet a living wage — the amount that is required for an individual to meet his basic necessities and live with dignity.

Inflation and recurrent economic crises have impoverished the middle-income groups and pushed many below the poverty line. Almost 100 million people are below the poverty line — that is significantly more than the population of the United Kingdom.

Last year, a startling statistic made the rounds: a staggering 90pc of beggars arrested in foreign countries are of Pakistani origin. But is it really surprising for a country where even those employed are paid among the least in the world?

Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, April 1st, 2024

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