Pakistanis reeling under skyrocketing inflation

Islamabad/Lahore, Apr 09 (PTI):
Nazim Malik pulled out his children from a private English-medium school and enrolled them in a government-run Urdu school because he can no longer afford their fees amid the spiralling inflation that has made life miserable for most Pakistanis who are now worried about two meals a day for their families.
The Pakistani rupee in recent months has seen a dramatic erosion in its value to the US dollar, currently trading at around PKR 288 in the open market.
In the month of Ramzan, buying fruits to break the fast has become a luxury for millions across the country.
The economic situation has never been so grim in a country which since independence has thrice seen military coups and the ouster of elected governments.
Cash-strapped Pakistan’s economy has been in a free fall mode for the last many years, bringing untold pressure on the poor masses in the form of unchecked inflation, making it almost impossible for a vast number of people to make ends meet. Their woes increased manyfold after last year’s catastrophic floods that killed more than 1,700 people and caused massive economic losses.
“Mehngai (inflation) has crushed my buying power. Literally, the two-time meal is not possible with what I earn,” Malik, who works as an accountant in Lahore, said.
During the last six months, inflation climbed to a level where his salary — 65,000 Pakistani rupees (PKR) seems to be only meant to buy food for his wife and three children.
“I pulled out my children from an English-medium school to get them enrolled in a government-run Urdu public school because I can no longer afford their fees. I am lucky that I don’t have to give house rent as I am living in my parents’ house. I am desperately looking for some extra work to supplement my income,” he said.
Malik cursed the incumbent rulers for paying no attention to the plight of the people and being busy with politicking.
Over two-dozen people, mostly women, have died during the last two weeks in the country in their bid to get free food or wheat.
Shakil Ahmad, who works in a canteen on a monthly salary of 25,000 rupees, says although he is single the amount he earns is spent in the first two weeks of the month and he either lives on borrowed money or does overtime to survive for the remaining period.
The prices of fruits and vegetables have gone beyond the reach of most people and the poor are only concerned with flour and rice, he said.
In Lahore, one kg of flour is priced at PKR 170, which Mohammad Hanif, a labourer, said he could not afford if he does not get work all days of the week.

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