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Think Tank Analysis: Pakistan’s Population Explosion

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Pakistan’s population continues to grow at an alarming rate, doubling twice since the first census in 1951 and estimated to double again by 2027. The current population of 249,566,743 is a cause for concern, highlighting the urgent need for effective family planning measures. Demographers and experts emphasize the detrimental consequences of an unchecked population growth, including unemployment, brain drain, and inadequate resources to cater to the needs of a burgeoning population. This article delves into the population challenges faced by Pakistan and the call for comprehensive family planning strategies to address the issue.

 

Abandoning the Myth of Demographic Boom:

Government leaders have often portrayed Pakistan’s youth bulge as a demographic boon, but the reality is starkly different. Economist Dr Hafiz A. Pasha’s calculations reveal that a significant portion of Pakistan’s youth, approximately 17 million, are idle or unemployed. This situation raises concerns about the future prospects of an uneducated and unskilled cohort. It is essential for the government to acknowledge the consequences of this demographic reality and develop concrete plans to empower and engage the youth.

Pakistan’s population continues to grow at an alarming rate, doubling twice since the first census in 1951 and estimated to double again by 2027.

Brain Drain and Frustration of Educated Youth:

The educated youth, disillusioned by pervasive corruption and limited opportunities, are leaving Pakistan in large numbers. In 2022 alone, over 800,000 individuals sought employment abroad. This brain drain exacerbates the loss of skilled individuals who could contribute to the country’s development. Simultaneously, many educated graduates within Pakistan face unemployment or are unable to secure jobs that match their qualifications, leading to frustration and a wasted talent pool.

In 2022 alone, over 800,000 individuals sought employment abroad.

Establishing a Population and Development Research Centre:

Prominent demographer Dr Farid Midhet advocates for the establishment of a “Population and Development Research Centre” to generate new knowledge and insights specifically focused on Pakistan’s youth bulge. This proposed think tank could collaborate with stakeholders to channel the unemployed and undereducated youth towards productive avenues. While there is donor interest in supporting such a center, it is crucial for it to be housed within a government academic institution for long-term sustainability and impact.

 

Importance of Family Planning:

Pakistan’s total fertility rate (TFR) remains high at 3.32 births per woman, indicating the need for greater emphasis on family planning. Comparatively, India, despite being the most populous country, has a TFR of 2.0, attributed to the successful use of contraceptives and increased education among girls. Pakistan’s family planning usage stands at 34%, highlighting the need to promote awareness and accessibility to contraceptive methods.

 

Novel Approaches to Addressing Population Issues:

To address population challenges effectively, experts suggest innovative approaches such as establishing an agency similar to the National Command and Operation Centre for population matters.

This dedicated body could focus on safeguarding the health and rights of women and girls, thereby promoting a comprehensive approach to population management. Rethinking biases and incentives related to population numbers, such as influencing the NFC award or gaining political advantages, is essential to prioritize reducing population size.

Pakistan’s total fertility rate (TFR) remains high at 3.32 births per woman, indicating the need for greater emphasis on family planning.

Conclusion:

Pakistan faces critical population challenges that demand immediate attention. It is crucial for policymakers to shift the narrative and prioritize comprehensive family planning initiatives to address the population explosion.

By investing in education, youth empowerment, and accessible family planning services, Pakistan can mitigate the adverse effects of unchecked population growth and pave the way for sustainable development and a brighter future for its citizens.

 

M Moiz
M Moiz
M Moiz, is Research Student at Islamabad research Institute and work with THE THINK TANK JOURNAL

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