PESHAWAR, Feb 27 (APP): Former Ambassador, Manzoorul Haq here on Sunday said that the control over population growth had always been a big challenge for developing countries like Pakistan and stressed upon the need for creating balance between population and the country’s resources to provide quality services to the people besides ensuring sustainable economic growth and development.
Talking to APP, he said that the unbridled growing trajectory in the country’s population graph was moving at fast pace, exerting an extra pressure on education, health, food, infrastructure among other socioeconomic sectors, which has become one of the main factors for deprivation of citizens of quality services besides undermining the economic growth and industrial development.
At the time of Pakistan’s independence, he said our population was only 30 million that has now swelled to over 220 million with a record seven times increase during the last 74 years.
He said that every year, five million people were being added in the country with a substantial two percent growth rate, fearing that such unbridled population growth would further widen the gap between the country’s resources and the number of people besides encouraging corruption and nepotism in the society. He claimed that the country’s population would be further doubled in less than 30 years if the existing growth continued with such alarming speed.
Manzooul Haq who served as Pakistan’s Ambassador at Saudia Arabia and Egypt, said that Pakistan was the fifth most populous and 33rd largest country in the world where most of the population was living below poverty line with having less than two dollars per head spending and around two million children were out of schools due to socio-economic imbalances.
Civic facilities including colleges, universities, educational institutions, transports and other essential services are being overburdened in cities due to increased migration of people from rural areas for better services and if such trends continue, would create scores of social and economic problems in future.
Ambassador Manzoor said youth who constituted over sixty percent of the country’s total population having below 30 years age, are considered as precious assets of Pakistan and can bring laurels to the nation after providing quality education, science and technology and jobs as per their qualification. “Historically, our country’s industrial development had remained satisfactory for a longer period of time but the nation could not fully reap its fruits due to population explosion,” he added.
“During my time of preparations for Public Service Commission, most of inspiring candidates did not consider population growth and its adverse effects on the national economy as a key problem and in such a scenario how an ordinary persons whose thinking mainly revolves around food commodities could think of this serious social issue,” he said.
Manzoor recalled that a clock installed on the rooftop of the Family Planning Office at Cairo in Egypt, rather than showing the time, had displayed statistics of people numbers where every newborn was being registered within 15 days. “With registration of every newborn with the government, the figure of this clock goes up clearly showing an increase in population and put numbers of Egyptians before the nation”, he expressed. He said this was a right step to make prior planning and formulate strategies for facilitation of population.
Manzoor said China had adopted a ‘one child for one family’ planning policy and later relaxed it in the contest of its social scenario. Underscoring the need for effective planning to control population, Ambassador Manzoorul Haq maintained that no development project would be fruitful in future unless it was based on estimates of population.
He suggested inclusion of population with its merits and demerits in the national curriculum to broaden students’ knowledge on this major issue besides providing better education, health and other socio-economic services to the people.