‘We cook once, eat it thrice’: Pakistanis battling inflation

New Delhi: Pakistanis are eating and travelling less to deal with sky-high inflation in the country, unable to pay for daily bills, and even their children’s education.

The beleaguered country’s weekly inflation touched 40 per cent last week — for the first time in five months — as consumer prices rose significantly due to onions, chicken, eggs, rice, cigarettes and fuel, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics reported.

There is a fear among certain sectors that the economy may never come back on track, and that the situation may continue worsening both on the economic and political fronts.

A recent report in Dawn tries to gauge the misery on the ground, gleaning the experiences of a security guard in Karachi, domestic helps, a student and a small-scale shop-owner.

Imam Ali, 55, who works as a security guard, said: “If our children ask for something, we simply make excuses. If we eat one time, the second meal is hard to manage… we tell the children to just sleep.”

From a small village near Nawabshah, Ali lost his livestock and crops in the 2020 floods, which forced him to come to Karachi to look for work. He earns Pakistani Rupee 15,000 a month.

“We eat meat only on the day of Bakra Eid. The whole year, we can only have meat if someone offers it to us, otherwise, we cannot buy it with our own money,” he was quoted in the report.

The country, which is wrangling for a bailout by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is still going through the aftershocks of the devastating 2022 floods and the stopgap measures taken by the government to deal with inflation.

With wheat at nearly PKR 100 per kg, and chicken at PKR 400, domestic help Rukhsana Bibi, 41, said she spends PKR 300 to come to work, which was earlier PKR 100.

She also said wheat flour was barely available, adding, “Our kids stand in line for days to get one sack and that too is expensive.” She has also pulled out her children from a private school and put them in a public institution, where she now struggles to buy books and stationery.

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