ALARMING SURGE IN POPULATION GROWTH IN PAKISTAN

SHAMIM RIZVI
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

Aug 20 - Sep 2, 20
12

World Population Day was observed last month throughout the world including Pakistan.. The surveys and reports of various government and private organizations relating to the population growth were released and published both by the international and Pakistani press which revealed that Pakistan is one of the countries of the world having highest population growth rate. According to experts the surge in population growth was alarming and if it is not checked with effective measures on top priority basis, the country would be facing acute shortage of basic amenities of life for the population which would add to the miseries of the majority of people living in the country.

According to these reports the population of Pakistan has shot up by 47 percent during the last 14 years (between 1998 to 2012 ) As compared to the population of about 131 million in 1998, it is now estimated to be above 192 million.. According to experts , there is a dire need for lowering the current rate of fertility by implementing effective family planning programs. It is feared that if it is not done and the population continues to grow at the present rate ,it is likely to double in the next 34 years making Pakistan 4th most populous country of the world .

The highest increase in population was witnessed in Balouchistan followed by Sindh, Fata, Kheber Pakhtoonkhwa, and the federal capital. The Punjab Province registered the lowest increase as compared to other provinces. According to details , in terms of percentages, the highest-about 139 percent in population was witnessed in Balouchistan followed by Sindh with about 81 percent, Fata by 62percent, Khebr Pakhtoonkhwa by over 51 percent and federal capital by 43 percent. Punjab witnessed the lowest increase of about 21 percent.

According to the United Nations Population Fund , Pakistan population today is almost 5times as bigger as it was in 1950 and about four million people are added toit every year and the country is to hit the estimated 309 million mark by 2050 and that would makeit the 4th largest country in the world. After China, India and the USA.

Rapidly swelling population in Pakistan has become a major cause of an aggravated different socio-economic problems and building up more pressure on fast shrinking natural resource base.. The situation of access to clean drinking water, safe sanitation, health and education have particularly aggravated to an alarming extent .surging population has also added more pressure on the ailing infrastructure such as roads , sewerage and water supply system. With education and health facilities ,already under pressure, existing network of public schools and hospitals have become inadequate to serve swelling population.

Employment sector is equally under virulent stress and there are not adequate jobs left for growing population. Consequently soaring unemployment has pushed up crime level to new heights and deepened social instability and insecurity. Poverty level has swelled to an alarming level leading families to commit collective suicides to avoid starvations

The country's economic planners are yet to fully realize the full impact of the unchecked surging population in the country They have yet to fully realize that roots of all problems and social evils enumerated above are in the unchecked surging population For Pakistan, it is not easy to tackle its socio-economic problems with average number of children born per woman exceeding five in rural areas and urban slums. This bitter reality makes family planning in Pakistan one of the most pressing causes that need immediate attention and wholehearted support of all concerned. According to some experts only promoting the technique of contraceptives for family planning is not adequate to address the problems of population growth. According to them, empowerment of women in terms of provisions extended education and employment opportunities is equally important for enabling women to make decisions on sustainable and affordable size of the family.