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Population is an asset as well as a problem

By the end of 2022, the world's population will reach eight billion and by the time we reach 2050 it will exceed to 10.5 billion

Pakistan did celebrate World Population Day on July 11 this year, and run-off events were organised in two weeks, but the enormity of the issue was neither fully understood nor realised in these events.

When something is celebrated in our part of the world, it starts with boring seminars and ends with it also. And every seminar organiser makes it obligatory upon themselves to issue a lengthy press release to the media in a befitting manner. These jargon-filled press releases have their own problems, They will never forget to mention who presided over the session, who was the chief guest and who was not the chief guest. Then follows the long list of speakers, and at the end, what they said on the occasion.

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I avoid attending these awareness-raising seminars for multiple reasons, and the foremost reason is; the speakers make the occasion dull and drab. With the arrival of multimedia gadgets, some speakers make it binding upon themselves to run slides and read them out if the audience cannot read anything.

Some activity organisers try to be creative with such awareness-raising events by arranging walks or changing the title of seminars to ‘discussion’, and ‘brainstorming sessions’.

Let’s discuss the problem called population – the population of Pakistan.

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The rapid increase in Pakistan’s population has worried everyone, including me.

Our ace op-ed writer Dr. Qais Aslam, however, calls the population an asset, if managed properly.

His argument is that out of the top five most populous countries, four are either developed countries or are emerging economies, and they are China, India, the European Union, the US, the island nation of Indonesia and Brazil. The sixth country is Pakistan, which is neither an established economy nor among emerging ones. The countries following Pakistan are Nigeria, Bangladesh and Mexico. I leave it to the readers to google and find the GDP rate of these countries.

But the world and human life are not all about GDP growth. A less populous world looks more beautiful and peaceful. By the end of 2022, the world’s population will reach eight billion and by the time we reach 2050, and if the population continues to increase at the same rate, the world’s population will exceed 10.5 billion.

Yes, you’ve heard it right: 10.5 billion.

Just 222 years ago in 1800, the world was home to one billion people. Those one billion people took 30 years later in 1930 to double the population figure.

This is a class two multiplication sum, by the way. Our forefathers added one more billion people just in 30 years. The world was three billion in 1960 and now we will take hardly 10 years to add a billion to the world.

As the population goes up, the number of problems stemming from population growth will also grow.

When we talk about Pakistan’s population-related problems, the list is known: food security, housing, health, education, and basic necessities, such as clean water, electricity, jobs, law and order, and so on.

When I am writing these lines, up to 22.8 million children aged between five and 16 years are out of school. The figure makes Pakistan the world’s second-highest number of out-of-school children. Millions go to bed hungry every night.

How can we tackle the problem called population?

The short answer is effective birth control.

Unfortunately, the series of seminars marking World Population Day lacks this keyword. Pakistan’s birth rate is about two per cent higher than the countries of the region, Iran, India, China and Sri Lanka.

Bangladesh has a population rate of 1.1 per cent which is a sad fact that despite being an Islamic country, Bangladesh has achieved a lot of success in population control.

Every couple should know the problems coming with the rapid population growth.

Also, the media and seminar organizers should know about the problems associated with the rapid population growth.

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