They were speaking at the concluding session of a two-day conference, “Pakistan’s population: New realities and challenges for human development,” organised by the Population Council of Pakistan (PCP) in collaboration with the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) on Friday. The speakers urged the government to make concerted efforts to deal with the population issue confronting the country by investing more resources in delivering family planning services.
They said that there was a need for revitalisation and repositioning of the Family Planning Programme and introducing the concept of birth spacing to safeguard maternal, neonatal and child health.
PAP President Shahnaz Wazir Ali said, “The country is passing through a demographic transition, we need to tap in to this (demographic) dividend as more and more young people enter the workforce.” Wazir warned that if the youth was not educated and remained unemployable and if fertility rates were not significantly reduced, the country’s problems would multiply with serious implications for the economy, stability, peace and internal cohesion of the country.
NUST Principal Dr Ashfaq Hassan Khan said the pool of unemployed has been rising due to the rapidly growing population. “Our country cannot afford more unemployment. We are talking about demographic dividend but this is a demographic disaster which we are we facing currently.”
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