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Surging population growth one of the world’s biggest challenges: AJK PM

Terms poverty, disease, food shortage & illiteracy as offshoots of unchecked population growth,

MUZAFFARABAD:   (Parliament Times)     The Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider Khan said population explosion had become one of the great challenges to the world today.

He was addressing the second quarter meeting of Programme Wing Islamabad organized by AJK Population Planning department on Tuesday. He said sharp increase in population was affecting the country’s economy, education, health, quality food, accommodation, energy, forests, divisions of lands and environment. Population explosion was also causing problems like water crisis and depletion of agriculture resources, he added.

He was of the view that the minimum age for marriage should be 18 years to control the population. The more the family is short the more prosperous it would be, he noted. He said we should involve Ulema, intellect and people from all walks of life to create awareness and benefits of family planning.

Mr. Haider said his government was taking necessary measures to give equal rights to women and to make them dignified. He observed that women were more educated than men in AJK. He said in view of importance of population welfare department services of 3300 employees of population planning had been regularized.

“Let’s begin from our house and better the size of our family. This country could not progress with the pace of population it had. In scores of western countries population was virtually shrinking” he said.

Mr. Haider said that due to young age weddings not only the population sharply increase but scores of health issue surface among women. Our resources are not compatible to our population, he observed. It was why a portion of our population remains deprived of basic facilities like health, education, potable water, quality food and other facilities, he stated.

Addressing the workshop AJK minister for population planning Dr. Mustafa Bashir Abbasi said due to population explosion we could not provide better facilities of education, health and food to our children. He said the growth rate was 1.6 however, he observed that it was lower in AJK than other provinces of the country. Even literacy rate of AJK was better than Pakistan, he added. AJK was polio free now and people had much better health facilities in the State, he stated. He said not only the cultivable lands were shrinking but also food shortage was being noticed due to population increase.

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