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Scrutiny
 
PAKISTAN: POVERTY VS NUCLEAR WEAPONS
Who are they defending?
Pakistan relentlessly pursues its nuclear agenda as millions suffer from malnutrition in the country
Issue Date - 30/05/2012
 
High level of poverty, malnutrition, widespread corruption and massive internal upheaval, all have a very strong connection. Taken together, they quite aptly describe the current socio-economic situation of Pakistan.

As per the National Nutrition Survey 2011, in Pakistan, among the children up to the age of five, 43.6% are stunted, 15.1% are wasted and 31.5% are underweight – this is worse than even the sub-Saharan African countries. The figure is also more than WHO’s 15% emergency threshold. These, by any standard, are atrociously shocking figures. The problem has been further exacerbated by the spate of floods in 2010 and 2011 that battered the Sindh province. As per a national survey, 58% of Pakistani households are ‘food-insecure’ and close to 30% suffer from hunger. As per United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition, just three types of malnutrition directly strike off 3-4% of GDP in Pakistan in any given year.

In this light, the outrageously high spending on the military budget, a hefty proportion of which is spend on developing nuclear weapons, raises eyebrows. Pakistan has kept the amount spent on nuclear weapons under wraps, but a US-based non-profit body Reaching Critical Will estimates it to be close to $2.5 billion.

While military spending can be justified due to increased terrorism, non-civil nuclear weapons’ development surely cannot. The classic guns versus butter debate is ages old, but Pakistan still doesn’t seem to know who its real enemies are!

 

Mrinmoy Dey           

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