When the war bells were nearly rang a fortnight ago, the leadership of both Pakistan and India atleast showed some sensibility by taking up the real challenge that their countries face. And that challenge is none other than the poverty as both the countries should not be so proud for having the unpleasant honour of being a place on the face of earth that has the largest population of poor people as near 40 percent population is languishing in poverty in both countries. Indian Prime Minister threw the gauntlet when he asked Pakistan to wage a war on poverty and illiteracy to see the “real winner”. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accepted the challenge saying that this cannot be met with “blood and ammunition”.

It surely shows that despite having a maniac war approach and extremist thoughts, India’s Modi has a guilty conscience that nudges him to act to end the miseries and suffering of the humans on both sides of the border instead of initiating a war that would only add into it. So the surprising but a welcome move from the leaders of both countries shows they knew very well their real challenges and it’s time to wage a war against poverty rather than going for each other’s throats. But it is not as simple as it is said.

The statistics released by the World Bank recently showed that both Pakistan and India face an uphill task in eradicating poverty. The World Bank report placed Pakistan among those countries where incomes of the poorest are growing faster than average while India is placed among the countries where incomes of the poorest are growing slower than average, although it has one of the world’s fastest growing economies. The data shows that as many as 21.25pc Indians live at or below the World Bank’s poverty line of $1.90 a day compared to 8.3pc in Pakistan. And 58pc Indians make $3.10 a day, compared to 45pc in Pakistan. The report shows that nuclear South Asia will remain desperately poor despite having the world’s highest growth rates.

So being the member of a society whose each individual is ready to fight on borders along with its armed forces against any aggression, it is also now every individual’s duty to play a role in this war against poverty. As an individual we can help end poverty simply by reflecting on the problems caused by lack of opportunity as thinking about others is the first step of this mission and one can strive toward an end of poverty by standing by the poor. Even one can help end it by simply by not making it worse. It is trialed and tested that only money can’t bring changes to end this social problem as a lot of money given to a poor would be all but wasted if he lacks direction.

Poverty as a social problem is a deeply embedded wound that affectseach dimension of culture and society. Whether it is sustained low income levels or a lack of access to services like education, markets, health care, it feeds to the spirit of poverty that takes a community to into despair, hopelessness, apathy, and timidity. So the poverty needs social solutions more rather than economic ones.

The poverty revolved around ignorance, disease, apathy, dishonesty and dependency that resulted in narrowing or closing the opportunity windows for the poor. These factors are not independent of one another asdisease contributes to ignorance and apathy anddishonesty contributes to disease and dependency. And so on.

In any social change process, we are encouraged to "think globally, act locally." The factors of poverty appear to be widespread and deeply embedded in cultural values and practices. We may mistakenly believe that any of us, at our small level of life, can do nothing about them.

But it’s not true. Making a personal commitment to fight against these factors that are root cause of poverty will contribute to the demise of these factors, and the ultimate victory.

We can help in reduction of communal poverty by mobilising community groups to unite, organise and take community action, and reduction of personal poverty by the creation of wealth through the development of micro enterprise.

So it can be said that poverty cannot be overcome by material aid and capacity building alone, nor can poverty reduction initiatives be successful unless they are based on the recognition of the inherent dignity and on the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. And as an individual it’s our moral and national duty to play our part in bringing the downfall of the poverty in a dignified manner.

Email: hammadahmad1971@gmail. com