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Pakistan’s Poor Resort to Suicide amid Food Crisis, Rising Inflation

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Edited By: Shankhyaneel Sarkar

Last Updated: March 18, 2023, 12:30 IST

Children receive free food distributed outside a cafe, early morning in Karachi (Image: Reuters File)

The recent economic crisis in Pakistan has pushed millions into food insecurity. Rising inflation which has led to price rise of basic commodities are forcing Pakistan’s poor to eat less

Price rise and rising inflation is forcing Pakistanis from lower strata of the society to end their lives. Two reports have surfaced showing the effects of the economic crisis on the lives of Pakistani people.

A report from Pakistan’s Surjani surfaced where an unemployed man poisoned his wife and two little daughters by poisoning their drinking water and also attempted to end his own life due to unemployment and failing to meet the needs of his family.

One of the two daughters, aged two years, died. Her sibling and their mother along with their father remain hospitalised in critical condition.

Inflation also continues to impact most of the population as people across the socioeconomic stratum face a surge in prices for basic necessities.

According to local media reports, the government is unable to tackle issues like food security because it is busy tackling severe debt crises and high fiscal and current account deficits.

The reports also point out that successive governments have compounded the food insecurity crisis and said even when issues like severe debt crises and high fiscal and current account deficits were not affecting the country, the government failed to focus on food security.

The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) released a report where it said that inflation increased by 0.96% during the ongoing week, marking a staggering annual increase of 45.64%.

The report said prices of 28 basic necessities increased while prices of 11 basic necessities decreased.

The World Food Programme (WFP), run by the United Nations, recently warned that hunger could be the new normal, citing 345.2 million people across the planet remain food insecure in 2023.

There are millions of Pakistanis who face food insecurity due to the ongoing economic crisis. The floods pushed more than 9.1 million people into poverty.

Pakistan’s National Socio-Economic Registry of Benazir Income Support Program data shows 25.5 million families consisting of 153 million individuals lived on a on a meagre monthly income of PKR37,000 or less.

This means their income was 0.73 US cents per person per day or $132 dollars per month, given the current exchange rate where $1 roughly equals PKR280.

Media reports from Pakistan point out that inflation’s impact on low-income groups means that children from that segment of the society will be most impacted as their physical growth and health will be impacted.

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