SC for joint approach to counter ‘explosive’ population boom


–Govt decides to reduce population growth rate to 1.5 per cent


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday directed the government, civil society and religious scholars to address the hazardous issue of uncontrolled population growth.

A three-member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, issued the directions while announcing the verdict in a suo motu case pertaining to the population boom.

The apex court, which took notice of increasing population in July last year, termed the issue as “explosive” and directed the concerned departments to launch a nationwide campaign to address it.

“This rapid increase in population is a serious matter and a burden on national resources which requires a joint approach [to tackle the issue],” the court said.

In response to the directions by the top court, government officials have decided to reduce the population growth rate of 2.4 per cent annually to 1.5 per cent.

According to the 2017 census, which held after a gap of 19 years, Pakistan had an approximate population of 207,774,520, making it the world’s fifth most populous nation only behind India, China, the United States and Indonesia.

The top court had also organised a seminar on the issue, which was attended by Prime Minister Imran Khan and other top officials.

The apex court’s primary concerns are the government’s formulation of a uniform and effective population control policy encompassing the entire country, tackling the uphill task on a war-footing.

Pakistan’s present population of 207.8 million and annual growth rate of 2.4 per cent will turn it into the world’s fourth populous country by 2030, a dubious distinction considering its lack of resources, its 147th ranking in Human Development Index, abysmal literacy rate of 56  per cent and fear of mass unemployment among youth, which now constitutes 60 percent of the population.