Future of Uncontrollable Population in Pakistan


Future of Uncontrollable Population in Pakistan

Maryam Ibrahim

One of the most dangerous, yet less discussed, problems in Pakistan is overpopulation. From the provision of essential nutritious food to eat, and clean pure water to drink, to the providence of proper healthcare facilities and education and then from tackling unemployment to the urgency of raising the general standards of living, the failure to control population growth has far-reaching, devastating effects. The constantly increasing population is a burden not only on the land but also on the climate. Exacerbating all types of pollution and destroying all forms of the natural habitats, it is actually like setting on fire all the available resources. Bernard Sanders, a popular American politician, currently vowed to support ‘educating everyone on the need to curbing population growth’ as response to climate change. If the climate attains 180 degree of change, it will obviously be the end of living on planet Earth. Unfortunately, due to lack of foresight and long-term implementation of population-control policies by successive governments, along with social stigma and resistance from the wrong religious beliefs, each time the topic of birth control is brought under discussion, there is a lot og hue and cry and the problem has been allowed to persist.

With a population of 40,488,030 individuals, Pakistan (including East Pakistan) was the 14th largest country in the world, in 1955. Even after secession of its Eastern wing, Pakistan still hosted 10th largest population in 1975, after an interval of 20 years. Within the next 10 years, the country became eighth largest nation. And by the end of the previous century, it was hosting seventh largest population in the world. In 2005, the country rose to claim the sixth spot on this ranking. And in 2018, Pakistan became the fifth most populous nation on the planet. The data show that the population of Pakistan grew from 40 million in 1955 to 220 million in 72 years with 38% population living in the urban areas. Population growth rate is 2.4% per annum. It is estimated that after 30 years, i.e. in 2050, the country will have a population of 338 million people.

Rapidly rising population has made economists, sociologists, environmentalists, administrators and politicians very much worried about the future of humanity. Overpopulation is threatening the future and joys of the coming generations. Massive growth in population can jeopardize the safety and security of the country. The pressing need of the hour is that the population should be regulated strictly to complement the available resources.

Various factors are responsible for growing population and the dilemma is that they themselves are rising with population increase like a vicious circle, giving us the red signal of looming overpopulation-based tsunami the result of which would be only destruction, unless and until the root cause (population) is brought under control.

People visit a crowded weekly bazaar in Lahore, Pakistan on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. As of Oct. 31, according to the U.N. Population Fund, there will be 7 billion people sharing Earth's land and resources. Experts say most of Africa _ and other high-growth developing nations such as Afghanistan and Pakistan _ will be hard-pressed to furnish enough food, water and jobs for their people, especially without major new family-planning initiatives. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

First in the list of factors contributing to population growth is poverty. There is no denying the fact that poverty goes hand in hand with population increase. Poor people are more ignorant towards the disastrous effects of a large population. As they lack resources for outdoor entertainments, they always seek pleasure in company of their wives, without using any family planning devices. These people bear more children who also remain poor and lack resources for getting proper education and fulfilling other necessities of life — out of Pakistan’s 80 million children, only 20% live in urban areas and have access to resources to meet their fundamental needs. They remain ignorant from generation to generation growing exponentially in size, and the cycle goes on. Instead of becoming good citizens, they are becoming an extra burden on the state, hence a threat to the future economic security. So, there is dire need of introducing population-control measures awareness in this class; otherwise, the results would be hard to face.

Almost 60% population of Pakistan is already living with food insecurities. If the population keeps on growing, agricultural lands will be used for settlement, as urban areas become more crowded. This will decrease overall agricultural production, making resources even more scarce and expensive. As result of food insecurity, an issue of stunting and malnutrition has also gained urgency nowadays. These will further be intensified by overpopulation, giving rise to weakened manpower that will not be able enough both mentally and physically to contribute towards the country’s development.Lead-3-768x575

Education also suffers when there is too much population. According to UNESCO, one in four Pakistani children will not be completing primary school by 2030 — deadline for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4. It shows a pathetic situation where educational facilities are not growing at par with the fast-increasing population. The government, on the other hand, is trying its best to educate more and more people, but all its efforts are thwarted by the uncontrollable flood of population, as a result the quality of education suffers. If this situation prevails, people having low-quality education would reach to the higher posts in administration. Corruption and bribery would follow that would ignite many other issues. Overall, its result would be disastrous to the nation future security.

At present, Pakistan hosts the second largest youth population in the world which, in effect, means that the country has a huge number of youngsters that can become agents of change. However, regretfully, most of these young people are unskilled, alienated, marginalised and a victim of state policies. More population simply means more unskilled individuals and more mouths to feed. If we take a look at our skilled and educated youth, the situation is no less precarious as the government is unable to provide jobs to more than 6 million people who approach the working age every year. Hence, these youngsters opt for going abroad in search of a better future.

The cancer of overpopulation is also destroying the socioeconomic fabric of our society. The absence of savings slows down the country’s growth in different sectors of the economy and makes the country lag behind in the race of national development. The country then has no better option than taking loans from IMF—in itself is a big issue. Due to the sagging economy, it is predicted that country will remain in crisis for many years to come. This agony of overpopulation is boosting many more problems like lawlessness and terrorism, inflation, defective tax structure, shortage of water and electricity,  costliness, urbanization, running out health facilities, government instability, the gap between the rich and poor of society and social evils like rising crime index, child abuse, child neglect, prostitution, drug abuse, narcotics, force migration and civil war. These all factors lower the standard of living in Pakistan.

Rapidly increasing population is putting incredible strain on the environment as well. In his book titled as ‘The Population Bomb’, Paul Ehrlich wrote: “The battle to feed all the humanity is over. In 1970s, hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” Mr Ehrlich could be incorrect in his exact prediction but we can see that he was not wrong about the disasters that overpopulation is inflilcting. The production of wastes, destruction of natural habitat, deforestation, air, water and soil pollution, depletion of ozone layer, extinction of species, global warming, climate change and numerous ecological problems are becoming serious day by day due to overpopulation. According to South China Morning post (SCMP), the current Covid-19 pandemic is the result of human overpopulation. Stated as “this unchecked expansion into new habitats is bringing humans into increasing contact with wild animal pathogens against which we have no biological defences.”

To sum up, overpopulation is a big evil for Pakistan and other developing countries across the world. In Pakistan, it is the mother of more than two-thirds of the country’s problems. To deal with this, population awareness programmes already working must be made more robust and strict laws for limiting family size should be enacted. The social stigmas hindering the population control must be removed by convincing religious scholars to openly talk about the distresses of overpopulation. Women’s education must be promoted to make them aware about family planning techniques and its positive impacts on both family and country. Early marriages should be greatly discouraged and strict actions should be taken against those who break this rule.

Population growth in Pakistan needs to be brought under control; otherwise, Pakistan will remain tangled in this web of predicaments.




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