‘Population burgeoning out of control as media ignored’

Pakistan Press Foundation

We have not been able to mobilise various segments of society for ushering in controlled population growth because we have ignored the media.

These observations were made by Dr Talib Lashari, technical adviser, Costed Implementation Plan, Population Welfare Department, Government of Sindh, while addressing the Second Sindh FP 2020 Media Forum on Population Growth at a local hotel on Friday afternoon.

He said Pakistan was experiencing rapid population growth which was exerting a strain on vital resources such as food, water and energy.

The latest census stresses the need to rethink our policies, plans, and programmes pertaining to population and birth-spacing.

He said that Sindh was already implementing the Costed Implementation Plan (CIP) on family planning with a proactive approach.

He listed unplanned urbanisation, lands capitulating to things like housing colonies and other things, and thus being eliminated, as the main factors that should worry our planners.

He said that Pakistan had been placed at the 150th position on the Human Development Index.

He said urban population was burgeoning because of uncontrolled migration. He added that in Muslim countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia, 70 per cent of the women were practising family planning.

He listed early marriages as a factor in the rapid population growth and said early marriages were also responsible for the high maternal mortality rate. “Had we practised family planning in right earnest, we would have been 40 million less in number which would certainly have spurred our development,” said Lashari.

He said that in line with the CIP, the health and population departments were to coordinate their operations. He added that to meet the challenges of economic growth, it was imperative to involve the youth and the communities in the programmes.

Journalist Dr Jabbar Khattak lamented that politicians didn’t seem to be genuinely interested in population issues. “We have to expand our outreach. We have to surmount the information deficit,” he said.

Former senator and information minister Javed Jabbar said, “No family is an island unto himself. Everyone has to think not only of his or his family’s welfare but also that of the society at large.

“Everybody’s welfare is interactive. We all have to take the interests of others and hence keep population controlled,” he said.

Jabbar suggested that as a corollary to the Supreme Court’s suo moto decision on population planning, a Rs10 billion non-lapsing fund should be instituted for carrying on the activities of population control.

Zahid Abbasi, secretary, population, Government of Sindh, quoted the World Bank’s most recent report on Pakistan projecting the position of the country in the year 2047 and said that the maximum emphasis was on population control to ensure a viable future. The talks were followed by an animated discussion among the participants.

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