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‘Pak has miserably failed to control its population growth’


Islamabad: Pakistan has “miserably failed” in controlling its population growth which is likely to exceed 300 million by 2050, a media report said today, highlighting the consequences the country with limited resources may face in future.

In the 68 years of its existence, Pakistan’s population has increased more than five times to an estimated 191 million and is likely to exceed 300 million by 2050.

It is not hard to imagine the consequences of this huge population with limited resources.

“While other nations have successfully restrained their population growth, we have miserably failed in doing so,” Lahore-based journalist, consultant and researcher Adnan Adil said in an editorial in The News International.

World population is growing by 1.2 per cent per year while Pakistan has a growth rate of 1.9 per cent. In contrast, Bangladesh has a growth rate of 1.2 per cent, India 1.2 per cent and Iran 1.3 per cent.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the chief ministers of the four provinces – Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh – were to attend the Population Summit earlier this month but they did not show up.

“The summit was a grim reminder that demographic issues and population planning, issues with far-reaching implications for our survival and prosperity, lack political ownership in this country,” Adil said.

“A fertility rate of three children per women is considered a desirable goal worldwide, while we have a fertility rate of 3.58. Even Saudi Arabia, an orthodox religious country with huge resources, has a fertility rate lower than that of Pakistan,” Adil said.

The population planning campaign started in 1953 when a civil society organisation embarked on advocacy and delivery of services for family planning with the assistance of international support.

However, bulk of the funds allocated for population departments is spent on infrastructure and staff salaries while paltry amounts left for operational expenditures.

According to the Demographic Household Survey, there is a 20-26 per cent unmet need of contraceptives in the country or, seven million women want to use contraceptive methods but they do not have access to them.

There is a glaring lack of affordable family planning facilities. The state has failed in reaching out to the people. Much better results can be achieved by providing family planning services at basic health units, rural health centres and tehsil and district hospitals.

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