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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pakistan faces population time bomb, whom to blame?

Pakistan’s population is growing so fast despite decades of family planning efforts that in 40 years it will be the fourth largest country in the world.
The United Nations Population Division projects that Pakistan would overtake Brazil and Indonesia by 2050 to rank fourth in the world population, almost doubling to 335 million from its current 180 million, a private news channel reported. “For a country with the resources of Pakistan that is enormous.
How can Pakistan support a population of that size with jobs, education and health care? It cannot do so right now with the population it has,” said Daniel Baker, who heads the UN Family Planning Association in Pakistan.
Pakistan currently ranks sixth behind China, India, the United States, Indonesia and Brazil. On its creation in 1947, the subcontinent’s new Islamic republic had 37 million people and was ranked 15th in the world. In 60 years it has multiplied nearly five times, and now Pakistan has a population growth rate of 2.2 per cent per year, and surpassed in South Asia only by Afghanistan, according to UN population data.
The rapid population growth poses potentially disastrous consequences. “If the growth rate continues the way it is, it is totally unacceptable. We do not have the resources. We are already overstretched,” Dr Qazi said.
A youth bulge in the current population, also known as a “demographic dividend”, provides the potential to ramp up economic productivity and prosperity generation. Fifty-seven per cent of Pakistan’s population is between 15 and 64, and 41 per cent are under 15. Only four per cent are over 65.
“Pakistan is now experiencing its largest ever youth bulge. It could be a huge capital asset if it could be taken into account; or it could be taken the other way around if you do not take it into account,” Dr Qazi said. “When you do not make positive capital investments in this youth bulge, then it is taken away by the other side and you see violence and all that coming in. It is a very scary picture.”
Who’s to be blamed for such reckless way of life—culture and traditions---religious taboos—illiteracy--climatic conditions, poverty and frustrations or Indo-US-Israel conspiracy?

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