Message from Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Prime Minister of Pakistan on World Population Day

Islamabad: World Population Day being observed today under the auspices of the United Nations draws our attention to the challenges of escalating population and its impact on socio-economic structures. The day highlights the need for concerted global effort to stem the tide of increasing population through greater political commitment, policy reform, injection of more resources and creation of awareness among people. According to the UN, three billion people out of total world population are below 25 years of age. This can be a bane as well as a boon depending upon how the world responds to this challenge.

The theme of World Population Day this year “Calling Attention to Urgent Global Issues” is most relevant as it puts the entire global community on the red alert to understand the criticality of the population challenge and work out holistic policies to overcome it.

There is a need to understand that population growth has a direct nexus with poverty. The more the population increases, the more people slide below the poverty line as it becomes practically unmanageable for the governments to allocate resources to cater to the basic services. The phenomenon also puts in resource constraints with less money being available for socio-economic development and reduced educational and job opportunities.

Population welfare has been a core point of Pakistan People’s Party’s manifesto. In an historic speech delivered at the International Conference on Population and Development at Cairo in 1994, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto highlighted the dangers associated with escalation of population. She urged the international community to take collective steps for population welfare.

In line with her vision, the present government devolved the ministry of population welfare to the provinces and declared 2011 as “Population Year” to highlight various issues linked with Population and Development. It aimed to focus upon involvement of different segments of the society to propagate the benefits of birth spacing for better health of mothers and children in conjunction with the Islamic teachings. The government has also decided to confer civil awards and other honours on institutions and individuals who set higher benchmarks of performance in the field of population and development to further the cause of population welfare.

I believe that the government efforts need to be supplemented by active participation of the community organizations, business groups, media, religious scholars and local elders. I would also ask media to increase people’s awareness on various population issues such as the importance family planning, gender equality, poverty, maternal health and human rights.

I would also ask the provincial governments to formulate their Population Welfare Programs and build capacity of the relevant departments to produce results. There is an urgent need to hold seminars, discussions, and educational information sessions on sensitizing the youth. What we need to understand is that we cannot achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) unless we design the demographic transition plans in a proactive manner.

For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326