Alarming rapid growth of population in Pakistan;

Altaf Hamid Rao,
Seminar calls for initiating steps on scientific grounds to overcome  increase in  population,

MIRPUR (AJK):      Expressing grave concern over the increased population in Pakistan, speakers including experts at a grand seminar here on Tuesday underlined that the population of the country may swell to double by 2030 if scientific methods were not immediately adopted towards the proper population planning harmonious to the immediate need of progress and prosperity of the country in line with the teachings of Islam.

“The grand ceremony of regional and national significance was held under the auspices of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with the coordination of Federal Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation & Coordination, Govt of Pakistan and the AJK Azad Jammu & Kashmir Population Welfare Department.

Vice Chancellor of the State-run Mirpur University of Science & Technology (MUST) Mirpur Prof. Dr. Habib ur Rehman was the chief guest on this occasion with Secretary Population Welfare Department of AJK Government Raja Muhammad Razaq in the chair.

The event titled “Awareness Seminar For Ulema and Academia on Family Planning’’ was attended and addressed among others by leading scholars and ulema besides lady doctors from local medical colleges to move their respective input in the backdrop of the fast emerging multiple issues following the increased population in the country including AJK with prime focus to raise awareness among the ulema and scholars on population planning to ensure their due vibrant role to help combat the situation in the perspective of Islam.

Besides the chief guest Prof. Dr. Habib ur Rehman, (Sitara e Imtiaz) Vice Chancellor Mirpur University of Science & Technology (MUST) and the chair – Secretary Population Welfare Department of AJK Govt. Raja Muhammad Razaq, leading ulema and scholars including Mufti Nazir Ahmed Qadri, Director Religious Affairs of AJK, Moulana Sahibzada Iftikhar Ali Hashmir, Allama Muhammad Bashir Attari, Qari Muhammad Naseem, Dr. Rubeena, Associated Professor Muhiud Din Medical College Mirpur, Dr. Saima, Associate Prof. Mohterma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Medical College Mir;ur, Prof. Dr. Sajaad Ahmed, Assistant Professor MUST varsity, Moulana Prof. Imran Ahmed and others.

Addressing the seminar, Vice Chancellor MUST Prof. Dr. Habib ur Rehman said that increased population of Pakistan was a big challenge to both the nation and the country since it was directly affecting welfare and progress of the nation as a whole, he observed.
He continued that since the resources were being mostly utilized on the population, the county may not enter in the ranks of the developed nations unless proper planning was devised to overcome the increased population on scientific grounds.

Dr. Habib ur Rehman emphasized the need of raising awareness among the masses through holding identical seminars to encounter the prevailing alarming challenge of rapid population growth in the country, since the flood of population was turning into a cause of destruction with the passage of time, he underlined.

The Vice Chancellor particularly called upon ulema and religious scholars to raise the issues including the current heated issue of increased population in the country in their Jumma (Friday) prayers sermons.

Dr. Rehman further urged religious scholars and academia to play their vibrant role in bringing balance in resources and population which at this point in time is highly unbalanced and country is likely to hv 285 Million Population in Pakistan by 2030 with current growth rate 2.4 % per annum if good practices adopted by brotherly Muslim countries are not fully adopted in the country.

He while referring the examples of Iran and Bangladesh, urged to take similar measures. He appreciated the role of UNFPA & M/o Nation Health Services Regulation & Coordination, Government of Pakistan , for the cause. He suggested to keep religious fraternity on board to have fruitful results. He suggested to hold similar seminars in the universities for the awareness of adolescents.

Addressing the seminar, the chair Secretary Population Welfare of AJK Raja M. Razaq while highlighting the current population demography, said that it was the fundamental right of the married couples to decided responsibly for birth spacing and family size as per their resources.

He explicitly explained the role of Govt of AJK vis-a-vis support of UNFPA & National Health Ministry for the management of population demography in the country while relying on good practices in brotherly Muslim countries.
Highlighting the objectives of holding of the seminar, Raja Razaq said that it was the third activity in AJK next to the two identical events recently held in the State’s capital town of Muzaffarabad as part of series to raise awareness among ulema and scholars for ensuring their due vibrant role over the population planning and welfare to avert the future challenges the country may faced with, he added.
Razaq said that ‘alarming population growth in the country has emerged as a serious challenge for both policy makers and policy implementers.
Pakistan, he underlined, has reached at the highest growth rate of population in south Asian countries.
He continued that Pakistan’s Population with the per annum growth rate of 2.4% will double in next thirty years as against dual ratio prevailing in other South Asian Countries in a period of 60 years.

“We need to learn lesson from the brotherly Islamic countries including Bangladesh, Iran, Turkey, Malaysia etc. where Family Planning programs are devised through religious scholars in line with the teachings of Islam”, Raja Razaq emphasized.
“Islam provides complete code of life”, the Secretary Population Welfare Department of AJK said and added that it was the fundamental right of the married couples to decide about number of kids and appropriate birth spacing for their-selves being the future welfare and prosperous family.
He said “keeping in view the above, we must focus for creating a balance between resources and the due family size under the spirit of the above parameters for a welfare and prosperous family”.
“We must educate people on injunctions in the Holy Quran that call upon mothers to suckle their babies for two years, at least,” he concluded.

Vice Chancellor MUST Prof. Dr. Habib ur Rehman and Secretary Population Welfare AJK Raja M. Razaq distributed awards and certificates among the participants including seasoned religious scholars, educationists, doctors, intellectuals and senior journalists in acknowledgement of their meritorious services through their respective fields for the uplift and prosperity of the society and the state.