Ah, Lahore! The capital city of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest metropolitan area in the country, Lahore holds the place of the 14th most populous city in the world. With a vivid past, Lahore is a main cultural center of the Punjab region and Pakistan. Lahore remains an economic, political, transportation, entertainment, and educational focal point for the country.
From the outside, all seems well in the main city, with business booming, the streets bustling, and the traffic as bad as New York! Once inside of this fabulous and iconic megacity, however, you find that the economic situation is lackluster; income distribution is far out of proportion. A simple drive in the city makes this unfortunate reality incredibly evident. The juxtaposition of the Mercedes and BMWs cruising the same streets that hundreds of beggars call home leaves an indelible mark on an outsider’s conscience. Another such example of the inequity can be seen at the Mall of Lahore. In it, you will find people buying Gucci bags, Rolex watches, and Armani suits. Just outside the mall’s doors, hungry children ask for scraps of food. Having visited the city myself several times, I can attest to such vast income inequality.
Such gross inequality is ubiquitous throughout all of Pakistan’s major cities; Karachi and Islamabad are also at once heaven to the rich and hell to the poor. The country is either laborious or lavish; the people are either suffering to put food on the table, or have so much food that they waste most of it.
Truly, the lack of a vibrant middle class in Pakistan is the main cause for its problems. The country must put out welfare programs, end corruption from the roots of the system, and redevelop infrastructure to get the city of Lahore and the country back on track on the global stage. We can help too, by discouraging and dissuading crime, setting an example, and educating the awam (people) of the country on what they can do to help build their future. Let’s turn laborious and lackluster Lahore into the one and only lavish and lovely Lahore!
Photo Attribute: WikiCommons