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Pakistan: Where Corruption Keeps the Rich, Rich—and the Poor, Poor

It’s a great country for those that it serves, but for those that live in poverty, it’s grueling.

Man overlooks the dirt roads decorated with litter paving Saddar Valley, Karachi.

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Man overlooks the dirt roads decorated with litter paving Saddar Valley, Karachi.

Pakistan is a beautiful country, full of gorgeous landscapes, deep history and bold culture.

But while the country is rich with natural beauty,  the income gap is heart wrenchinga distinction between luxury and poverty that you can only truly be exposed to in a third world country.

Million dollar mansions line the streets of elite neighborhoods, while children sleep on the street in the most dangerous parts of the country.

Corruption keeps the rich, richand the poor, poor.

When you visit Pakistan, if you belong to a wealthy family, you will never cook or clean, a lifestyle that seems relaxed and care-free.

But always remember those who are serving you will have nothing but the clothes on their back.

It’s a great country for those that it serves, but for those that live in poverty, it’s grueling.

 

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Children working at local food stand in Shah Dara Valley near Islamabad. We offered them some money but they were so thoroughly trained they refused to take it unless we purchased something.

You’ll explore the country in new world cars, constantly being driven around by servants. The homeless and the disabled will swarm to your windows begging for scraps and rupees.

Your heart will ache as children come crying, but locals will warn you not to give them money. The children, kidnapped by gangs, return to the leaders nightly, sleeping on dirt floors with no money left in their pockets.

In some households, you’ll notice dogs sleep inside air-conditioned rooms while servants in outside shacks face grueling temperatures.

Million dollar garments adorn the front of fashion magazines,  the same garments sown by the needle-pricked hands of child laborers working 12-hour-days in the local market.

Azan playing on the Margallas as heard from The Monal restaurant..

There are restaurants bordering the majestic Himalayas and the dancing Arabian Sea. They fill with the scent of the most delicious, flavorful food you will ever taste in your life. This same aroma leaks into the streets plaguing women and children who may have gone days or weeks without meals.

Doves seen from Kolachi restaurant, playing in the Arabian Sea.

Children of a government officials have extravagant parties upon their first birthday, while six of the servant’s children cry from happiness after being told they can split the candy from a single goodie bag.

In Pakistan you will come across the most breathtaking faces in the world. Some will be standing at parties adorned by beautiful clothing, faces who have flown to foreign countries to undergo the costliest beauty treatments. The others will be but green eyes piercing through outside crowds, as you look closer you will see they belong to faces stained by dirt, aged before their time.

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Servant spotted before his prayer at Badshahi Mosque, Lahore.

Country clubs provide daily access to first-class facilities and recreation to the wealthy, basking in Olympic-sized swimming pools, completely unphased by the thoughts of their drivers waiting in cars parked outside battling brutal heat.

Gift a rich person in Pakistan a costly gift, it will be thrown into the back of a closet. Gift a servant in Pakistan a old piece of clothing and they will wear it every day for years to come.

Only education can fix bridge the gap between the elite and the poverty-stricken. But what is there to do when  the wealthy have access to Ivy League education in first world countries, while the poor don’t even have access to books.

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About Komal Junejo (51 Articles)
I am a 24-year-old Pakistani-American pursuing a career at the U.S. Department of State. I am currently studying for the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) in hopes of becoming a diplomat within the Public Diplomacy sector.

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