What’s In Store For Pakistan’s Future?

Analysts predict that by 2055, Pakistan's demographic makeup between urban and rural areas will be equivalent. Family planning is taboo in the country.

What is the greatest threat to mankind, asked fifty Nobel Prize-winning scientists in 2017 by the British magazine Times Higher Education. “Rapid population expansion and environmental damage,” was the response.

However, the vast majority of specialists in chemistry, physics, medicine, psychology, and economics considered that the greatest threat to humanity was the fast-expanding population and the deterioration of the environment only about five years ago. Over the past few decades, repeated warnings about rapid population expansion and its potential effects have been heard.

Pakistan presently ranks fifth in the world when it comes to population, with a little more than 220 million residents, according to our most recent census. In comparison to the first four main nations on the list—China, India, the United States, and Indonesia—Pakistan has the quickest rate of population growth, according to the World Population Review. The demographic of this South Asian nation is projected to double from its current level by 2045 if the yearly growth rate of 2.1% of Pakistani people is maintained.

Unlike those two Muslim-majority nations, Pakistan does not have a great history of population control, although sharing many cultural and social traits with Iran and Bangladesh.

For instance, Pakistan had a population of roughly 60 million people and Bangladesh had about 70 million people. In comparison to Pakistan, which has a population of over 220 million, Bangladesh has a population of 164.7 million fifty years later. In comparison to Bangladesh, Pakistan had almost 50 million more children.

Iran’s fertility rate average fell from 6.5 children per woman in 1980 to 2.1 children in 2020, according to World Bank research. Yet, the same survey states that Pakistan still has an alarmingly high level of fertility of 3.1 children per woman.

The population is uncontrolled for a variety of reasons. First, because the population problem is unrelated to public favorability, policymakers have failed to create excellent policies and effective legislation. Second, each time a census was taken, it was discovered that the data provided by various authorities was inaccurate. The third failure occurs at the institutions’ ground level where the policies are being implemented.

For a long time, we saw commercials for condoms and contraception, which greatly increased awareness. But then, all of a sudden, these advertisements ceased. Education has an undeniable influence on the population, and it is closely tied to awareness.

One of the most significant factors is also the percentage of women who are literate. In Pakistan, uneducated women have 4.2 children on average per person, while highly educated women have 2.6 children on average, according to the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey conducted in 2017 and 2018.

In a similar vein, areas with high rates of education also have greater rates of contraceptive use. For instance, a poll found that condoms are used as a contraceptive technique 18.7 per cent of the time in Islamabad, but just 2.9 per cent of the time in the previous FATA region.

Additionally, we observe the local level inefficiency of public bodies in this area. The problem has gotten worse when the provincial governments were given control of the population protection agency. Every district has institutions in charge of population welfare, but they stay away from local gatherings, public awareness campaigns, and mobilising common people.

The word of community welfare programmes is spread in the streets by female health professionals and midwives if we consider the religious tendency in population debate.

They make a lot of effort to increase awareness in the community and encourage active participation from the general population. However, their work is despicable and unacceptable to the general public. Field workers can offer contraceptive methods to people, but they are unable to make them forget that they believe it to be against Islam.

Unfortunately, we have been unable to determine if family planning is Islamic or not up to this point. The Population Council organised academics from various schools of thought in 2015 to discuss the ideal spacing between pregnancies and put the emphasis on balancing population increase rather than population control. Additionally, they made an effort to educate the public about the benefits of nursing for two years by using academics.

The preference for the birth of boys over girls in Pakistan is another significant societal factor contributing to population growth. The vast majority of regular citizens want this. Most people believe that you should keep having kids until a boy is conceived. As a result, until there is a change in public perception, this practice will continue.

Researchers think that Pakistan cannot afford to cater to such a massive population. The decision-makers in Pakistan begin to believe that providing food, water, education, and healthcare services for the vast population of tomorrow is not the current state of the economy whenever this topic is brought up in meetings for planning for the future.

If the proportion of rural to urban residents is compared, just 19 per cent of the population of the nation lived in cities in 1955, but that number increased to 35 per cent by 2020. Experts predict that by 2055, Pakistan’s population distribution between urban and rural areas will be equal.

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