President Mamnoon Hussain has said that Pakistan is going through an unprecedented demographic shift as rapid population growth is a major problem confronting the country. The President stated that our bright future depends on healthy, educated, safe and prosperous Pakistan where the rights of every citizen are fully protected under the law.
The President said this while addressing the National Population Summit at Convention Centre, Islamabad on Thursday.
The President stated that Pakistan is world’s sixth most populous country adding that the large population provides both opportunities as well as challenges. The President said that today is an important day as a national narrative on the issue of population is being prepared which has the backing of all the provinces including Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, all the political parties and religious scholars. This national narrative will help in addressing the demographic issue of Pakistan by rejecting the regressive mindset, remarked the President.
The President said that the people are the source of strength of the government’s current policies and national narrative on population and that is the reason that in Vision 2025 peoples’ progress has been declared the primary pillar for attaining national progress. In this regard, first priority is to focus on literacy and empowerment of women. The President said that the government is committed that the fruits of progress reach every citizen adding in this regard it would conduct census next year to determine the size of population.
The President noted that with the right approach towards the population issue Pakistan will be able to contain the problem and fulfil its promises made with the international community in this regard. “I want that by 2020 we should make at least 50% progress in the matter”, remarked the President. The President said that overpopulation adds to the burden on the scarce resources which makes it difficult for the country to look after its citizenry. He further stated that religious scholars can play an important role in the matter in the light of Islamic teachings.
The President suggested establishing a task force having representation of national leadership and all the provinces to address the issue of population. This task force should meet after every six months to review the progress made in the matter, added the President.
The President stated that due to corruption and maladministration in the past Pakistan has been unable to realise the dream of its forefathers. He called upon the people to ostracize the corrupt and support the government in its efforts to curb corruption and put the country on the path to progress.
Mrs Saira Afzal Tarar Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rehman, Prime Minister Azad Jammu & Kashmir Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, Ms. Yoriko Yasukawa Regional Director UNFPA Asia and Pacific Regional Office Bangkok, and Ms. Julia Bunting President Population Council, USA also addressed the population summit. The summit was attended, among others, by parliamentarians, diplomats and high government officials.