A number of studies have been undertaken during the last three decades to assess the extent and nature of poverty in Pakistan. These studies are primarily based on data generated by the Household Income and Expenditure Surveys (HIES), the earliest relating to 1963-64. Most of the studies have used the calorie-intake approach to assessing poverty, although a few recent studies have also used the basic-needs approach to determine the level of poverty.1 There is a consensus among the studies that in the 1960s, rural poverty increased while urban poverty decreased. In the following decade, poverty declined at all levels. This declining trend continued until 1987-88. Since then no real consensus emerged on the trends in poverty. Gazdar et al. (1994) and Jafri (1999), for example, show that decline in poverty continued in the early 1990s. Malik (1992); Amjad and Kemal (1997) and Ali and Tahir (1999), on the other hand, show an increase in poverty during this period. No information on the incidence of poverty is available after the period of 1993-94. The last HIES, the common source of measuring poverty in Pakistan, was conducted in 1996-97. It has only recently been released and estimates of poverty based on this data set are not yet available. The HIES results are usually made available with a time lag of 2-3 years, leading to ineffective monitoring of trends in poverty. This necessitated the conduct of a survey to measure the incidence of poverty for more recent period and also to compare it with the earlier estimates.