Shibli says unbridled population threat to national security

Parliamentarians pledge to focus on population planning, education for sustainable development

Our Correspondent September 25, 2021
Legislators discussed ways to address population issues within political and national security ambit. photo: express


Federal Minister of Science and Technology Shibli Faraz has said that Pakistan’s national security is linked with human security and human development is not possible without dealing with a high population growth rate.

“The government is cognizant of the impact of rapid population growth and is fully committed to making greater investments in critical areas of health and family planning, education, gainful employment and youth empowerment,” he said this in his keynote remarks at the fourth meeting of the Parliamentary Forum on Population.

The meeting was organized by the Population Council with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Islamabad and was attended by members of the senate, legislators from the national and provincial assemblies from across all major political parties.

Faraz emphasized that national security must be centred around human security because only then both ‘freedom from fear’ and ‘freedom from want’ can be ensured and it was in this context that unsustainable population becomes a threat to national security because it deprives people of equitable opportunities for accessing health, education, nutrition, gainful employment and leading a fulfilling life.

Read Minister urges extra efforts to meet population goals

Legislators both from the federal and provincial parliaments discussed ways to address population issues within political and national security ambit and focus on human security as a new priority area for national security.

Senator Mushahid Husain highlighted the need to re-envision Pakistan’s national security in the face of the high population growth in the country. He said that there is now a multi-party consensus and political ownership on the population issue.

MNA Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha said greater investment in population welfare was important for Pakistan’s economic prosperity. Stressing for women empowerment that can potentially lead to a decline in fertility and improve maternal and child health, she said.

MNA Marriyum Aurangzeb said all political parties must provide oversight on the population budget expenditure in their respective provinces and hold the government accountable.

Country Director Population Council Dr Zeba Sathar called upon the federal government to abide by the Council of Common Interests (CCI) decision of creating a Rs 10 billion population fund.

UNFPA Acting Country Representative Bakhtior Kadirov reiterated UNFPA’s support of the government of Pakistan in meeting its commitments to sustainable population growth. He said parliamentarians’ role is pivotal in moving the population welfare agenda forward.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2021.


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