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Editorial | PM’s Claim That He Can’t Make Ends Meet Is No Consolation For The Poor

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The Prime Minister’s statement to business leaders that he cannot run his household with his salary has been the occasion for some amusement in print and social media. There has even been some reporting on what his actual income as PM amounts to, and whether his statement is factually correct or not.

Regardless of how accurate they may or may not be, such self-referential statements give a poor impression of the leadership’s grasp of the economic situation. The PM and those around him are certainly far from the poverty-stricken working masses and the struggling middle-classes. The financial woes of PM Imran Khan are not the best indicator for the economic shock treatment being meted out to the majority of Pakistanis.

In 2018, it was found that 37% Pakistanis are food insecure. That would only have gone up with rises in the price of essential foods in an era of inflation and economic stagnation. Pakistan has the third highest proportion of stunted children in the world. Below the age of 5, we are told that 4 out of every 10 Pakistani children suffers from stunted growth. 57% of adolescent girls in the country are reported to be anaemic.

The harsh reality of life under conditions of a lack of food, clothing and shelter – under which a Karachi man recently ended his life, with the PM himself addressed in his suicide note – are a far cry from the world that Imran Khan has inhabited in life. Even with the best of intentions, the PM’s claim that he cannot make ends meet on his official income is no salve for suffering Pakistanis.

At some point, the ruling party and its leadership will have to transcend the discourse of “Me, Myself and I”.

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