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Population control is symbol of Pakistan’s survival, says Chief Justice

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar warned on Wednesday that the population of the country will reach 45 crore in next 30 years if not controlled timely.

While addressing a symposium hosted in Supreme Court (SC) on population control, the CJP maintained that the resources are limited in the country but population rate has risen significantly.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Mian Saqib Nisar presided over the conference with Prime Minister Imran Khan as the chief guest. All four provincial chief ministers attended the day-long symposium.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar both addressed the conference.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Pakistan is currently in this situation because the previous governments did not think beyond their five-year tenure.

According to the prime minister, the CJP had taken steps which democratic governments should have done. “You asked why democratic government had not thought of water. They were not thinking beyond five years. We are facing these problems due to short term thinking.”

Speaking on the issue of population, the prime minister said he was an environmentalist form the start. “I remember when I was young there would be a temperature difference from one area of Lahore to another. There were green areas in the city. People would drink water from their tap, Ravi used to be a nice river and now it is a garbage dump. The city is all concrete now.”

The prime minister said he wanted to break the walls of the Governor House Punjab so people could see the gardens.

He added that children needed to be educated about family planning and the environment in school. “Pakistan is number seven on the list of nations which will be most affected by climate change.”

The rate at which population is growing and cities are spreading is having a devastating impact on our environment, said the prime minister.

He thanked the CJP for raising this issue and was grateful to see that all chief ministers were on-board.

Addressing the symposium, Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar said that an alarming rise in population needs utmost attention.

The CJP said no attention had been paid to population control in the country in the last 60 years.

The chief justice called on the prime minister and president to investigate why nothing had been done for the construction of dams in the last 40 years.

“Our water is decreasing but mouths are increasing,” the CJP said.

The top judge said that water is the elixir of life and there exists no water management in the country.

“Our resources are depleting rapidly,” CJP Nisar said and it is time that new legislation is introduced.

The top judge stressed the importance of education saying this was imperative to a nation’s growth. “The faculty of thinking is the most important. Those nations who sought education have progressed and those who didn’t haven’t.”

According to the chief justice, there were plans already made by other nations for population control and all Pakistan had to do was implement them and create awareness through the media.

“After 30 years if the population keeps going at this rate it will be 450 million.”

Addressing the conference, religious scholar Maulana Tariq Jameel said, “The creation of human beings is the world’s greatest project.” The religious scholar noted that “illiteracy and poverty are major reasons for the increase in population growth” and stressed on the importance of education.

“Although the symposium is being held in Islamabad, the problem is more prevalent in rural areas,” Maulana Jameel asserted.

Ministry of National Health Services Secretary Zahid Saeed also addressed the symposium and said, “A nationwide campaign to highlight the issue of population control will be started in cooperation with all provinces soon.”

“The chief justice has termed the rise in population a matter of human rights and if the population continues to rise at the existing rate, it will become double in thirty years’ time,” the secretary for Ministry of National Health Services said. “A number of meetings were held on the issue and the provinces have also given their recommendations on controlling population. The prime minister called a meeting of the Council of Common Interest on this issue and all recommendations were approved with consensus,” he added.

Saeed further said, “Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world and the main reasons of the alarming increase in population are lack of awareness and a lack of a clear policy on the issue.”

BISP Chairperson Dr Sania Nishtar also addressed the symposium and said, “Today is a landmark day. The show of strength of various stakeholders is critical to the cause.”

CJP Nisar, PM Imran and Federal Health Minister Amir Kayani are also scheduled to deliver speeches.

Pakistan’s population is growing at an alarming rate and if measures are not taken it will double in 30 years.

During his visit to London, Justice Nisar had said he would kick-start a campaign in December to raise awareness about the importance of population control.

The CJP had taken suo moto notice of a human rights case in the matter regarding the alarming population growth rate in the country. The apex court had constituted a task force to formulate a mechanism to curb population growth in the country.

Recommendations of population growth task force, Establish national and provincial task forces for steering, providing oversight and taking critical decisions to reduce population growth, low fertility rate and increase contraceptive prevalence rate, Ensure universal access to FP/RH services, Federal government to create a five-year non-lapsable special fund for reducing population growth rate with an annual allocation of Rs10 billion. The fund shall be set up exclusively from federal resources without any cut from provincial funds, To introduce and implement legislation for population growth control, To advocate and communicate a national narrative of reducing population growth rate and achieve socio-economic wellbeing for all, Introduce curriculum on health, hygiene and population control in the primary, secondary, college and universities, Contraceptive commodity security, Joint declaration of Ulema made at Population Summit-2015, Islamabad to be widely advocated.

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