First Wave of COVID-19 in Pakistan: Half population sold their properties to save the life

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According to the report issued by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics(PBS), in 2020, first wave of COVID-19 pandemic was not less than a disaster for the country which resulted in unemployment of twenty million natives: construction workers with highest ratio among them. More than 30 households remained insecure for food and grocery. 10 percent population remained unfed(at least one time a day) for couple of days while 12 percent families at least spend one complete day without any food. The PBS prepared a special report on the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 in Pakistan during the first wave of the virus. It covers economic impacts between April and July 2020.

Report says, income of 17 million people was shrieked and 45 percent families compromised on medicine, clothes during the lockdown in the above-mentioned period in the country.

While referencing to the released data Atiq-Ur-Rehman Spokesman Pakistan Bureau of Statistic told Eat News, “Half of the population purchased low quality food in said period. 47 percent population either used their savings or sold their properties to ensure their life. 30 percent of Pakistanis took loans from relatives, 8 percent households were not able to continue the education of their children. 12 percent families faced delay to pay the in time barrowed amount in the same period. In case of provinces Khyber Pakhtunkhwa faced highest cut in income (64%) and in case of cities, Karachi faced the drastic cut in income (59%).”

Mr. Rehman said, “PBS is national statistical organization which conducts census and survey throughout the country. COVID-19 shaped and reshaped the life of a common man in Pakistan so it was very much necessary to collect the data of effected population. During the survey on COVID-19 we have included the different parameters such as unemployment, income, migration and food security. It is the responsibility of Pakistan Bureau of Statistic to share the ground realities and data with government as far as the decision and road map is concerned it is domain of the government.”

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45 years old Muhammad Ramzan, a resident of Islamabad said that he has two jobs to fulfill the needs of my family. “I am living with my wife and two children. First wave of corona poorly influenced me and my family. I was not able to continue my bread and butter. I use my saving which I collected from the second job”. “We suffered a lot due to corona, sometimes we remained without food throughout the day” he added. Mr. Ramzan believes that government of Pakistan should take some more solid steps to help and assist all those who are suffering due to this pandemic.

Mr. Sarfaz Raja, a corporate sector employ said that he is currently living in Rawalpindi but originally belongs to far-flung area of Pakistan. He has some properties in his native town. In the time of crisis he sold his inheriting land to feed his family. “I have become jobless in first wave of corona. Even I have no penny in pocket to pay my utility bills. My family was hungry, I don’t have any other option, so I sold my piece of land to save the life of my family”, Mr. Raja told Eat News. He said, public and private sector is working to help the poor households still more coordinated efforts are needed.

According to the report government has financially supported 19 percent of affected families while 18 percent families were assisted by private sector as charity.

While speaking to Eat News Member of National Assembly and Parliamentary Secretary on Economic Affairs Muhammad Yaqoob Shaikh said that COVID-19 was world wide spread virus which affected the whole world. Indeed, Pakistan was also a victim of this pandemic, which influenced the global economy in a worse way including Pakistan. He said “this pandemic increased the number of unemployment in Pakistan and add more miseries to the life of a common Pakistan. Current government took some initiatives to control the spread of corona virus throughout the country. For such purpose PTI (Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf) government imposed strict lockdown and SOPs in the country.

Photo: Muhammad Yaqoob Shaikh/Facebook

“It was a crucial time for local economy; we tried our best find positive way forward in the time pandemic. We were afraid, that Pakistanis may survive after corona but could die due to hunger”, Mr Shaikh told.

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He said, “there were some rumors and negative predictions that Pakistan GDP growth will be – 0.4 (minus point four) percent but with the blessing of God now we on right track and trying to overcome the losses which were caused by corona virus. Textile and construction industry including export are inching towards the positive indicators and our current GDP is 2.7”

This report was presented to Prime Minister Imran Khan during a meeting on Decision Support System for Inflation (DSSI) developed by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

The briefing by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) was attended by Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Information Minister Senator Shibli Faraz, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Industry Minister Muhammad Hamad Azhar, Trade Adviser Abdul Razzaq Dawood, Special Excise Assistant Dr Waqar Masood and senior officials.

The Prime Minister said that the government continued to focus on providing relief to the poor and working class during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Prime Minister said that the global economy was affected by the pandemic but with the help of God Almighty and timely action of the government, Pakistan overcame this difficult situation and the whole world appreciated our efforts.

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Mohammad Farhan Niazi is a correspondent for Eat News in Pakistan and is an experienced senior producer with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. Skilled in feature and news writing, non-linear editing, radio, multimedia journalism, Online journalism, film production, and sound. Strong media and communication professional graduated from University of Peshawar.

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Eat News is a Taiwanese digital media, analyzes current events and issues through column articles, videos, visual aid, and exclusive interviews.

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