Bangladesh overtakes its neighbors in combating hunger
New index shows impressive progress, while Pakistan lags behind
- Murtaza Haider for Dawn.com
- October 24, 2013
In less than a quarter century, Bangladesh has outperformed Pakistan in reducing hunger and malnourishment. From trailing Pakistan in hunger reduction in 1990, Bangladesh has sped ahead of Pakistan and even India by halving hunger statistics.
The recently released Global Hunger Index(GHI) by the International Food Policy Research Institute reveals that hunger has improved globally since 1990. However, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are home to worst forms of hunger. Estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organisation in the US suggest that no fewer than 870 million people go hungry across the globe.
The pejorative reference to the starving, naked Bangalis (Bhookay, Nungay Bengali) is still part of the Pakistani lexicon. The West Pakistan’s establishment thought not much of Bangladesh when it separated after a bloody war that left hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis and others dead. After the 1971 war, even Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto called Bangladeshis pigs. Fast forward to 2013 and a new picture emerges where Pakistan struggles to feed its people while Bangladesh gallops ahead in human development. One wonders why Pakistan, which was once thought to have so much promise, has become the sick (and hungry) man of South Asia.