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Is inclusive government more humane? Perspective on food availability in Pakistan

By Muhammad Azeem Qureshi and Ayaz Muhammad

Abstract

Purpose – In view of the paradox of soaring malnutrition prevalence in an agrarian economy like Pakistan, political and economic pundits are of the opinion that Pakistan may face acute shortage of food in future if its political managers do not take holistic approach to address the issue. The form of government system is one such dimension of this approach. Pakistan has witnessed different forms of government system. The purpose of this paper is to assess the food availability situation under different regimes in Pakistan since 1972. Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses log-lin growth model to make out if form of the government may affect the level of food availability in Pakistan. Findings – The data indicate lot of variations between different regimes. Over the years consistent and positive public policies for demographic management brought down the population growth rate. It was expected that positive demographic development coupled with supplementary policies will provide space to ensure sufficient food and standard nutrition to the people but this variable also could not contribute according to expectations. Prevailing inequity in society along with inconsistent policies and mismanagement of resources are generally quoted as the main reasons for this misfortune. However, the paper demonstrates that vertical power structure and absence of inclusive political system is an additional reason of continuing food deprivation in Pakistan. Research limitations/implications – For the purpose of this analysis the authors use the food balance sheet data of Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations, and hence assume all limitations of this database. Practical implications – This paper points out another reason to have inclusive form of the government in Pakistan: to reduce food deprivation. Originality/value – This paper is the first of its kind to assess the availability of food to the citizens of Pakistan under different regimes.Food products, Government policy, National economy, Pakistan

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