With the world’s population reaching seven billion on October 31, UN officials have stated that, by 2050, Pakistan is going to be the fourth most populous country in the world.
Resident Coordinator of United Nations Pakistan Timo Pakkala said that although Pakistan was among the first countries in Asia that initiated a family planning programme, it has experienced a high population growth rate – 32.5 million to 177 million during 1947 to 2011.
Speaking at the launching ceremony of the State of World Population 2011 report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), Pakkala informed that in 1950 Pakistan had around 40 million people and was the world’s 13th largest country in terms of population. However, by 2005, it had become the world’s sixth most populous country with 166 million people.
It is now projected that Pakistan could become
the world’s fourth most populous country in 2050 with a population of nearly 335 million.
Planning and Development Division Acting Secretary Ch Muhammad Azam said that amongst the SAARC countries Pakistan has the lowest Contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) at 30% and highest population growth rate at 2.03%. This has resulted in an annual net addition of 3.6 million people to its population, which will double in next 34 years, he added.
He further said at the ceremony that the Population Welfare Programme could establish only 3,200 service delivery centres throughout the county, which are insufficient to cater to the needs of its population of 177 million.
Azam informed the audience that in post-18th amendment, the functions of the defunct Ministry of Population Welfare, such as, planning, coordination of national policy on population, population projections, research and coordination, and administration of four institutions have been transferred to the Planning and Development division.
The Population Welfare Programme has been devolved to the provinces.
“Today we have to resolve that in the future we will make all efforts to ensure provision of reproductive health and family planning services to clients at their doorsteps in every nook and corner of the country,” said Azam.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2011.