Pakistan fails to check population growth: expert

Islamabad, Nov 15 (IANS) Pakistan has “miserably failed” to control its zooming population growth, and this will have consequences, an expert said in a Pakistani newspaper on Sunday.

“In the last 68 years of its existence, Pakistan’s population has increased more than five times from 37 million to an estimated 191 million and is likely to exceed 300 million by 2050,” Adnan Adil said in an opinion piece in The News International.

“It is not hard to imagine the consequences of this huge population with limited resources,” he said.

According to him, while other nations had successfully restrained their population growth, some decades ago, Pakistan has “miserably failed in doing so”.

World population is growing by 1.2 percent a year while Pakistan has a growth rate of 1.9 percent, the writer said. Bangladesh and India have a growth rate of 1.2 percent and Iran 1.3 percent.

“A fertility rate of three children per women is considered a desirable goal worldwide, while we have a fertility rate of 3.58. It means that our women, on average, have one more child than they should have.

“Even Saudi Arabia, an orthodox religious country with huge resources, has a fertility rate lower than that of Pakistan.”

Adil said political commitment to containing unrestrained population growth in Pakistan was weak.

“Our rulers cannot hide behind the excuse that population planning will lead to a backlash; gone are those days when there was strong resistance to family planning and use of contraceptives.

“Credible surveys suggest acceptability of family planning and contraceptives has increased over the years. Literacy and urbanisation have contributed to a favourable atmosphere.”

Adil quoted a study by the Population Council as estimating that of the nine million pregnancies in Pakistan in 2012, 4.2 million were unintended.

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