Monday, 28 March 2016

More decentralization, please!

by Kabeer Dawani and Ammar Khalid

From left to right: Mr Arif Hasan, Nalini Shekar, Dr Noman Ahmed, Ammar Khalid, Kabeer Dawani and Dr Asad Sayeed
Photo credits: LUMS HSS

In 2015, for the first time Pakistan held local government elections across all four provinces under a civilian government. All three tiers of government are now democratically elected – something that is unprecedented in Pakistan’s history. However, while this is a crucial step in the right direction, the laws enacted by the four provinces are restrictive and have been criticized by various quarters for not devolving any meaningful powers to the local bodies.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Hunger and undernutrition – knowing versus feeling

by Haris Gazdar

Getting by on hungry days
Photo credit: Wikipedia/U.S National Archives & Records Administration

There is hunger in Pakistan and there is undernutrition.  The two are closely connected but not the same. We all know what hunger feels like. It is a bodily sensation associated with discomfort and pain. Social policy knows hunger in terms of energy intake. The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations defines hunger as the daily consumption of fewer than 1,800 kcal by an individual. The Pakistan government’s own benchmark, until recently, was 2,100 kcal per day.  Undernutrition is the outcome of sustained periods of inadequate food intake on the health of a person. Social policy knows undernutrition through comparing an individual’s physical attributes such as weight, height or blood micronutrient counts with those of a healthy population.