ISLAMABAD: Around 39 percent of Pakistanis are still living below poverty line, said a first-ever official report on multidimensional poverty launched on Monday. However, it said that the poverty rate fell from 55 percent to 39 percent from 2004 to 2015 with poverty in urban areas remained 9.3 percent as compared to 54.6 percent in rural areas. The progress across different regions of Pakistan is uneven and disparities also exist across provinces, said the report launched by the Planning Ministry which was earlier published in the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2015-16/ The report has been complied with technical support from UNDP Pakistan and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford. According to the report, nearly 39 percent of Pakistanis live in multidimensional poverty, with the highest rates of poverty in FATA and Balochistan. The report found that over two-third of people in FATA (73 percent) and Balochistan (71 percent) live in multidimensional poverty. Poverty in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa stands at 49 percent, Gilgit Baltistan and Sindh at 43 percent, Punjab at 31 percent and Azad Jammu and Kashmir at 25 percent. There are severe differences between districts such as Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi having less than 10 percent multidimensional poverty, while Qila Abadullah, Harnai and Barkhan (all in Balochistan), have more than 90 percent poverty. Deprivation in education contributes the largest share of 43 percent to multidimensional poverty index (MPI) followed by living standards with contributes nearly 32 percent and health contributing 26 percent. These findings further confirm that social indicators are very weak in Pakistan, even where economic indicators appear healthy. The report also found that the decrease in multidimensional poverty was slowest in Balochistan, while poverty levels actually increased in several districts in Balochistan and Sindh during the past decade. The level and composition of multidimensional poverty for each of Pakistan’s 114 districts are also covered in the report. Speaking at the launch of the report, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said a zero poverty goal had been set before the year 2030. He said that reduction in multidimensional poverty was one of the core objectives of Vision-2025. He said that an inclusive and balanced growth, which benefits everyone, was government’s top priority and was essential for promoting harmony in the society. “Pakistan’s MPI establishes baseline not for only Vision-2025, but also for progress towards achieving the sustainable development goals, and complements the consumption-based poverty estimates recently released by the government,” he said. Speaking on the occasion, UNDP Country Director Marc Andre Franche said, “We consider this a highly innovative approach because of its multi-faceted nature and the availability of estimates at the sub-national level.” “Multidimensional poverty provides useful analysis and information for targeting poverty, and reducing regional inequalities. Many countries are using MPI to inform government priorities for planning and it is encouraging to see government of Pakistan adopting MPI to complement monetary poverty measure in Pakistan,” he added. OPHI Director Dr Sabina Alkire congratulated Pakistan on launching the report on multidimensional poverty. “Developed with input from all provinces, Pakistan’s MPI is very robust and we have been very pleased to work alongside the very strong academic and policy community in Pakistan,” said Dr Alkire. Pakistan’s leadership will be of interest to over 40 other countries in the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network who are using multidimensional poverty measures in the sustainable development goals, she added.