I. Population growth means, an increase in the number of people that reside in a city, state or country. It is a danger and it has its adverse impacts, and there are several reasons which are involved in it; therefore, it needs to be controlled with an iron will.
II. Population growth rate of the world and of Pakistan.
III. There are several reasons for the population explosion.
- The foremost reason is illiteracy.
- The science and obsolete customs also play their due role in population growth.
- The overall gradual betterment in living standards and life also an important factor.
IV. The adverse consequences of population explosion are also numerous.
- Institution dealings with them such as schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, shops, agriculture, markets, houses, and other social facilities, each one is compelled to be increased.
- Population growth badly affects the economy of a country.
- It also has negative impacts on the agriculture side.
V. As the handwriting is on the wall, it is high time for the concerned authorities to gird up their loins with an iron will to impede the menace of population explosion from its mushroom growth.
VI. Pakistan is today standing at the crossroads, and the vision must be that Pakistan comes first even before our personal vested interests.
The wish of a Baby boy is another customary factor in this regard; because of the patriarchal nature of our society, families often give birth to six girls just to have one boy
Population means, all the inhabitants of a particular place, and population growth means, an increase in the number of people that reside in a city, state or a country. It is the increase in the number of individuals in a population. One may argue that it has several benefits such as it increases economic growth because of demand and supply principle; the abundant labor force runs the wheel of the economy; further, more tax-payer means more income for the state.
Furthermore, human resource when converted into human capital, it proves to be a holistic development of a country… Unfortunately, for developing countries, like Pakistan, it is a blessing in disguise. In the myriad of challenges like economic development, poverty, inflation, unemployment, low literacy rate, hunger, food, and scarcity of water, low standard of living, low per capita income; the population explosion is considered to be one of the stimuli behind these problems. So, it is not a reason to be proud of, rather a cause of concern for Pakistan. The population explosion has its adverse impacts, and there are several reasons which are involved in it; therefore, it needs to be controlled with an iron will.
The world population reached the mark of its first billion in 1804, the second in 1927, the third in 1960, the fourth in 1974, the fifth in 1987, the sixth in 1999 and the seventh in 2011. Whereas Pakistan has a population of 33 million in 1950 and today it is around 210 million; it has ranked us sixth most populous country after China, India, USA, Indonesia, and Brazil. In terms of land area, Pakistan is 34th and shares 0.6% of the world area and in terms of Human Development Indicator, it has 150th position in the world, until 2018.
Further, Pakistan also has the highest population growth rate at around 1.90% or as per UNESCO’s statistics 2%. Moreover, it shares 2.81% of the total world population, wherein 34.9 % of its population is urban. Each family in Pakistan on average has 3.1 children. If the population of the country continues to grow with the same rate (1.90%), it is likely to double in next 37 years, making Pakistan 3rd most populous country of the world; whereas land area will remain the same rather will be reduced due to residential plans.
There are several reasons for the population explosion. The foremost reason is the illiteracy because the literacy rate still stands around 62 percent in the year 2017-2018. The illiterates are unable to understand the inflation, economy, and expenditures which are rising day by day, from domestic to national level, from basic education to the university expenses. Eventually, their offspring remains uneducated, and the vicious cycle of population growth remains intact.
Secondly, the science and obsolete customs also plays theirs due role in population growth. With the help maternity centers, modern medicines, and separate child clinics, the infant’s mortality rate gets increased. In addition to the high fertility rate in Pakistan, which is around 3.73 in 2019, polygamy is another factor and that although is an offence if the husband marries again without the permission and informing the existing wife, yet it is evidently visible both in urban and rural areas. The wish of a Babyboy is another customary factor in this regard; because of the patriarchal nature of our society, families often give birth to six girls just to have one boy.
Moreover, the overall gradual betterment in living standard and life is also important factor. The development, roads, hospitals, access to medicine; and an effort of clean water supply to drink, better and safe food; the flood control, pleasant environment, social stability; the eradication of life-threatening diseases like malaria, polio, dengue fever, also aid in population growth.
A strong Pakistan should be our first priority and if we have to make certain hard decisions for its accomplishment no one should hesitate to lead and pull the trigger
The adverse consequences of population explosion are also numerous. The more population means, more mouths to be fulfilled. With the growth of humans, each institution dealings with them such as school, colleges, universities, hospitals, shops, agriculture, markets, houses, and other social facilities, each one is compelled to be increased. Eventually, the limited resources and paucity of these facilities generate unproductive citizens with an inclination towards social evils; resultantly, the crime ratio gets increased.
In addition, population growth badly affects the economy of a country. It results in the decline of per capita income and purchasing power of the citizens. And when demand diminishes, then as per the demand and supply principle, the investment also declines. Consequently, unemployment which leads toward poverty becomes the fate of downtrodden of society.
It also has negative impacts on the agriculture side. With more than 60 percent population depending on agriculture, under limited yield rate and shortage of water, facing the havoc of flooding and droughts; it is leading toward a situation when input may surpass the output. The small farmer is already under the burden of debt and labour. He barely lives hands to mouth; so, increase in numbers of his family, makes him more meager and miserable.
The honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan has also highlighted the issue in its judgment which is published in 2019 SCMR at page, 247. The court formulated a Task Force which recommends that National and Provincial Task Force comprising Prime Minister, Chief Ministers and all population ministers be formed to take critical decisions to reduce population growth rate. Further, to ensure all public and private family hospitals should start counselling of the families’ patients. A fund with annual allocation of Rs 10 billion be set up in this regard. Legislations should be passed from parliament, and a national narrative must be built through campaign. Further, the court also recommends to use, curriculum, training, contraceptive measures, and above all the support of Ulema.
Under these circumstances, as the handwriting is on the wall, it is high time for the concerned authorities to gird up their loins with an iron will to impede the menace of population explosion from its mushroom growth.
To conclude, Pakistan is today standing at the crossroads. It will either perish forever or will emerge as a stronger nation. What are needed is a vision and a sincere leadership that could transform dreams into reality. The problem of overpopulation has now started to haunt us and unless we tackle it pragmatically our dream of a bright and glorious future will just remain a pious wish. It needs a multipronged attack to deal with overpopulation. A strong Pakistan should be our first priority and if we have to make certain hard decisions for its accomplishment no one should hesitate to lead and pull the trigger. Indeed, Pakistan comes first even before our personal vested interests.
Lastly, as our government already recognized the potential of exiting young population, who are 60 percent of the total; a big labor force; a big market and all of their benefits which those countries who are lacking with it feel, must be utilized. They must be converted into human capital so that current population proves to be a blessing for Pakistan.
Hafiz Muhammad Azeem is an advocate of the high court. He holds an LL.M. from the Punjab University and teaches law at Punjab Law College. He writes research-based articles on various topics and can be reached at khokhar.azeem@yahoo. com. His articles can be accessed on hmazeem.blospot.com. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.