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Overpopulation crisis — a real threat to Pakistan

 By Dr Abdul Razak Shaikh,

World Population Day, which seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues was established by the then-Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989, an outgrowth of the interest generated by the Day of Five Billion, which was observed on 11 July 1987.
The world population increases annually by 100 million approximately every 14 months.
This year’s World Population Day calls for global attention to the unfinished business of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development. Twenty-five years have passed since that landmark conference, where 179 governments recognized that reproductive health and gender equality are essential for achieving sustainable development.
In November, UNFPA, together with the governments of Kenya and Denmark will be convening a high-level conference in Nairobi to accelerate efforts to achieve these unmet goals.
On World Population Day, advocates from around the world are calling on leaders, policymakers, grassroots organizers, institutions and others to help make reproductive health and rights a reality for all.
International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems and to celebrate and reinforce the achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool.
By resolution 45/216 of December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly decided to continue observing World Population Day enhance awareness of population issues, including their relations to the environment and development.
The Day was first marked on 11 July 1990 in more than 90 countries. Since then, a number of UNFPA country offices and other organizations and institutions commemorate World Population Day, in partnership with governments and civil society.
The UN logo is often associated with marketing and promotional material for this event. It features a projection of a world map (less Antarctica) centered on the North Pole, enclosed by olive branches. The olive branches symbolize peace and the world map represents all the people of the world. It has been featured in colors such as blue against a yellow background.
Overpopulation is a global crisis and Pakistan is among the most overpopulated country in the world. Pakistan is the 6th most populous country in the world. The rate of population increase is 1.2 percent a year, which means the population, will double in 58 years.
The 2017 Census of Pakistan was a detailed enumeration of the Pakistani population which began on 15 March 2017 and ended on 25 May 2017. The census was conducted by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics for the first time in the 21st century, after 19 years. Initial estimates would put the population at 20 crores (210–220 million). The provisional results were finally presented to the Council of Common Interests on 25 August 2017, and then approved and released to the public. The results showed a total population of Pakistan at 212,742,631 people, 2018 Pakistani general election was held under new delimitation of constituencies as a result of 2017 Census of Pakistan. Unchecked population growth in Pakistan is among one of the serious challenges which the country faces today.
A rapidly growing population creates economic and social problems such as housing, education, health, transport, water, power, etc. The very high rate of population growth lowers the per capita income, which caused in low saving and a low investment that results in a low rate of capital formation.
Unchecked population growth in Pakistan is among one of the serious challenges which the country faces today. Arguably, this rapid rise in population poses the biggest threat to the state’s plans to achieve self-sufficiency in different human development indicators.
Since Pakistan’s independence, the country’s smaller provinces have always protested against not receiving their due share in resources. They claim this has been due to the country’s politics being dominated by Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province. The ruling elite in Pakistan has not made any determined policy efforts to expand the country’s domestic economy by effectively increasing agricultural and industrial output. It’s one of the primary reasons that Pakistan remains unprepared for rising challenges.
Pakistan is an Islamic state and there is no rule for birth control. Many find it an insult against Islam and family planning programs in most regions are ignored. Sometimes the staff of family planning programs is attacked.
The concept of a large family in Pakistan is very common and has become part of the culture. Many Pakistanis consider large families a blessing and do not bother to think if they are able to adequately feed and support the children. Tribal and conservative attitudes also contribute to this mentality. Females are not viewed as equal to men and in many families are prevented from working or studying outside of their homes. If a woman gets ill, her husband or male relative must take a day off to escort her to the hospital.
The Pakistani education System is very poor and the government seems unwilling or unable to make effective changes. Moreover, poverty, inflation, illiteracy, social unrest, and criminality are the cases in point that are created by overpopulation. Therefore, the government of Pakistan needs to devote not only adequate time and attention to these issues but to implement real change and reform to solve the overpopulation crisis.

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