DOOMSDAY: year 2001 Beef Rs. 100 a kilo, chicken Rs. 90: tiny flat rent Rs. 8,000

By Zubeida Mustafa

What will life be like twenty years hence? If you read science fiction and have a lively imagination you might conjure up fantasies of space travel, computers and robots. But if you are a hard-headed realist your thoughts should turn to how 154 million — instead of 85 million —- impoverished people will eke out a living in an underdeveloped country.

Lite, at least in Pakistan, is not going to be easy at the turn of the century. Problems are to be anticipated if projections made by experts are to be believed, and there is no reason why they should not be. This is how life will be in the year 2001: Karachi is a city of 18 million.

A middle class family like that of the Ahmads lives at least 50 kilometres away from the city centre where accommodation is relatively cheaper the rent of a tiny flat being Rs. 8,000 per month.

Thatta is a suburb of Karachi and given the pressures on trains and buses it takes Mr. Ahmad three hours to commute between home and place of work every morning.

Transport is not the only problem. There is not enough food to go around so it is rationed and Mrs. Ahmed spends hours standing in queues. Food is expensive too beef sells at Rs. 100 per kilo, chicken Rs. 90 per kilo and eggs cost Rs. 25 per dozen.

At the end of the working day Mr. Ahmad walks down fifteen floors rather than wait for a lift. When he returns home at 8 p.m. there is no recreation to look forward to. Continue reading “DOOMSDAY: year 2001 Beef Rs. 100 a kilo, chicken Rs. 90: tiny flat rent Rs. 8,000”