Sunday December 03, 2023

‘Pakistan has lowest pension income coverage’

By our correspondents
August 11, 2017

LAHORE: Pakistan ranked depressingly low in the Global Age Watch Index at 91 out of 96 countries, the lowest pension income coverage in the world. 

This was disclosed by Dr Asghar Zaidi, Professor in International Social Policy (University of Southampton), Visiting Professor, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (London School of Economics), Adjunct Professor, JC Institute of Ageing, Chinese University of Hong Kong, China during a seminar on Thursday.

Punjab Economic Research Institute (PERI), Planning and Development Department jointly organised the seminar on “challenges of old age in Pakistan” at PERI office, Lahore.  Dr Asghar Zaidi presented key findings of the Global Age Watch Index shedding light on the challenges of population ageing in Pakistan. He stated that The Global Age Watch Index was the first ever index to measure well-being of older people across the world. Citing it as an innovation in research, the index had been developed for Help Age International. Additionally, the speaker identified contexts around the world where older people fare better and pointed out policy interventions that were effective in reducing their vulnerabilities. He informed the audience that Pakistan ranked depressingly low in the Index: at 91 out of 96 countries, hence terming it as the lowest pension income coverage in the world.

He added that Pakistan ranked particularly low with respect to health of older persons, with a relatively low life expectancy and even lower healthy life expectancy.  The seminar was beneficial in raising awareness regarding the issues during old age and highlighting the areas of policy intervention. More specifically, the current state of older citizens in Pakistan was analysed and the need for significant strategies was propagated.

Dr Zaidi research targeted healthy ageing, the well-being of older people and persons with disabilities. His professional experience included him serving as an economic adviser for UK’s Department for Work and Pensions and as a research officer at London School of Economics and University of Oxford. Additionally, he was currently leading the dementia in Pakistan project for Age International London (2017-2018).

Academician, representatives of different non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Old-age homes, researchers and government officials attended the seminar. The main aim of the session was to highlight the increasingly important population aging issue and changes in the demographic structure. The need to address healthcare issues of old age population along with other challenges like pension income coverage, social connectedness, civic freedom and public transport was discussed.