India has been ranked as the cheapest country followed by Nepal as the second cheapest while Switzerland, Norway and Venezuela are the most expensive countries to live in according to the report.
The findings of this report are a relief only to those whose paychecks carry the figures of their salaries in dollars, pounds or euro. Countries whose currencies are twice as high as the Pakistani rupiah are the only privileged ones to exploit this opportunity and take back the best to their homes thanks to Pakistan’s so called ‘low cost of living’.
Reality for the common man of Pakistan whose average monthly salary is US$255 or Rs. 25,500 is quite different. Pakistan’s inflation rate rose to 4.3 percent in December of 2014 from 3.96 percent in the previous month as food, clothing and housing, water, electricity and gas prices edged up.
It was noted that 60.19% of Pakistan’s population lives below the poverty line if the international standards of the average daily wage are set to be US$2 per day.
According to the report, Rawalpindi was listed as the cheapest city of Pakistan in comparison with Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad based on the consumer price Index (CPI). Consumer Prices in Karachi are 9.84% higher than in Rawalpindi whereas the rent in Karachi is 7% lower than that in Rawalpindi which can be clarified further by analysing the groceries index which stands at 29.66 for Karachi and 25.86 for Rawalpindi.
The findings of the report were criticized at a global level as it did not deal with two much needed aspects of human lives; education and health care. Also one must take into account the disparity of the consumer pricing between private and government run institutes.
Pakistan’s unemployment rate was recorded as 6.5% in the year 2013 where 400,000 people were said to become jobless and this was termed as an ‘alarming figure’ by the authorities.
World Bank states that even in the year 2014, 62% of the Pakistanis reside in the rural areas where majority of them cannot even afford to pay a monthly tuition fee of Rs200 for their education. And that’s perhaps the reason why Pakistan has one of lowest literacy rate in the world with only 56% of adult Pakistanis being literate.
Every year 800,000 children die in Pakistan of which 35 percent of these deaths occur due to malnutrition. The infant mortality rate of Pakistan is 8.6% (one of the highest in the world)).
All these heart wrenching statistics only mean one thing to Pakistani nationals that in the world’s eyes we might be the 3rd most affordable country to live in but as a Pakistani, the only commodity cheap here is human lives where an average of 3,000 people are killed annually in incidents of sectarian violence, acts of terrorism and target killings.