Pakistan Court: Population a ‘Ticking Time Bomb’; Urges Two Children per Couple

In this file photo taken Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2006, Pakistani hospital staff members attend newly born babies in Karachi, Pakistan. Anita Zaidi, a Pakistani doctor, won a $1 million grant Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, to fight early child mortality in a small fishing village in southern Pakistan in a contest …
AP Photo/Shakil Adil, File
EDWIN MORA

The Supreme Court in the world’s fifth most populous country of Pakistan ordered the government on Tuesday to promote control measures, including a two-children-per-family norm, to wage war on the “ticking time bomb” of population growth.

According to the Express Tribune, the apex court declared, “The increasing population is a burden on the [cash-strapped] country’s resources. It is about the future of the next generation. It would be unfortunate if the population is not controlled. Two children per home will help to control the population. There is a need for a campaign on the matter.”

“The entire nation,” including religious scholars and members of civil society, needs to join forces to “wage a war against population growth,” Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar added, according to the News International

Referring to the court’s request for population control measures, PTI reveals:

A three-member bench led by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar made the observations during a hearing in a case related to population control in Pakistan, now the world’s fifth most populous. In its order, the Supreme Court urged religious scholars, the civil society and the government to take steps to promote population control in the country.

On Monday, the Supreme Court blasted the health secretary after he admitted that his department is unable to devise and implement effective measures to control population growth, according to Duniya News. Subsequently, the justices ordered Saeed to submit a progress report on population control measures to the court every three months.

Under pressure from the court to devise and implement effective measures to control population, Pakistan’s health secretary, retired Capt. Zahid Saeed, “informed the court that a plan has been devised to control the population growth rate which has to be brought down to 1.5 percent by 2025.”

In July 2018, the Supreme Court chief justice argued that a dire need exists to formulate a uniform and effective policy to restrain Pakistan’s population growth.

The 2017 census showed that the population of Pakistan stood at nearly 207.9 million, making it the world’s fifth most populous nation, only behind China, India, the United States, and Indonesia.

Pakistan, home to 11 percent of the world’s Muslim population, is the number two country with the largest population of Islam adherents in the world, preceded only by Indonesia with nearly 13 percent of all followers of Mohammad.

According to the Pew Research Center, there are at least an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, making Islam the second-largest religion across the globe after Christianity.

Echoing the Supreme Court, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) reportedly expressed concern that the ballooning increases in the Pakistani population are a “looming disaster,” the News International found.

Citing in a press statement the birth of about 15,000 babies in Pakistan on New Year’s Day 2019, the PMA reportedly “said it believes that the unchecked rise in the population is a looming disaster, and concrete steps should be taken to implement family planning and make people-friendly economic policies to overcome these difficulties and save the coming generations.”

Barring any steps to curb new births, Pakistan’s population will continue to grow, ultimately making the Muslim-majority country the fourth most populous in the world.

It appears Pakistan is taking a page from China, its top economic and military ally, whose renowned population control measure of one child per family is blamed for infanticide and forced sterilizations. The Chinese policy has reportedly fueled the country’s aging society and shrinking workforce, prompting Beijing to relax the law in recent years and allow parents to have two children.

Citing growing concerns over an aging population and dropping fertility rates, China is now considering ending the child restrictions altogether.

“Under current family planning rules, the majority of Chinese couples are limited to two children, following an easing of the country’s notorious ‘one-child policy’ in 2016. These restrictions now look set to be further relaxed under a new draft reform to the country’s Civil Code, potentially allowing families to have multiple children for the first time in decades,” CNN reported.

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