Need to control population growth on war footing: CJP

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of Pakistan on Tuesday expressed concern over the rapidly growing population of the country, questioning if the country could afford seven children per family.

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A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, was hearing a suo motu case pertaining to the growing population in the country.

Irked by the government’s lack of policy for population control, CJP Nisar likened the rate at which the country’s population is growing to “a population bomb” and remarked that the country does not have enough resources to sustain the exploding population.

Is [Pakistan] capable of [sustaining] seven children per family, he questioned, adding that there was not enough water and food for the children being born in the country.

He asked the health secretary in attendance how much budget the Punjab government had allocated for health centres in the province.

The deputy health secretary informed the bench that the department receives around Rs1.5 billion annually, in addition to the Rs3.6 billion provided by the Public Sector Development Programme.

The secretary also told the court that the government does not have a monitoring system in place to regulate health centres or document the growth in the country’s population.

The chief justice observed that the ballooning population needed to be controlled on a war footing, and the country needed a unified policy to tackle the population challenge.

Whatever plans there are to control the burgeoning population exist only on paper, the CJP added.

The top judge then remarked that he would himself visit the health centres to inspect the facilities available.

According to the 2017 census provisional results, Pakistan’s population stands at 207.8 million — a 57 per cent surge since the last census in 1998.

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