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Resident of Quetta, 43-year-old Jan Mohammad, is expecting two more children this year. — DawnNews
Resident of Quetta, 43-year-old Jan Mohammad, is expecting two more children this year. — DawnNews

QUETTA: A resident of Quetta, Jan Mohammad, who has fathered 33 children from three wives says he is living a happy life with his large family. "The bigger the family, the better," says 43-year-old Jan, the father of 19 daughters and 14 sons.

Jan, who considers himself "young at heart", is expecting two more baby girls this year, with one of his wives expected to deliver a daughter this week.

A doctor and trader by profession, Jan, says he cares for his children himself and the only difficulty he encounters is that he often forgets their names.

Also read: N Waziristan operation spoils fourth wife dream of father of 36

The large family lives in Quetta's eastern bypass area on the outskirts of the city, a remote neighbourhood inhabited by low-income families.

"I spend about Rs100,000 a month to educate my children," says Jan, whose children range between one and 16 years old. His favourite child is his eldest daughter, Shagufta Nasreen, who is studying in the ninth grade.

"When Papa comes home, I am the first to open the door as soon as possible so he doesn’t have to stand outside," she says with a smile.

Jan Mohammad spends about Rs100,000 a month to educate his children.  —DawnNews Jan Mohammad spends about Rs100,000 a month to educate his children. —DawnNews

When asked about his decision to have such an unusually large family, Jan says: "I had only one brother when I was growing up, and I was very fed up with that reality. I always wanted a large family."

Jan's large family came into the media limelight when he requested multiple copies of the Form B for his children, a request which Quetta’s Deputy Commissioner rejected, deeming the number suspiciously high.

But the Quetta Metropolitan Corporation has issued birth certificates for all of Jan’s children and he has an official ration book from 1974 as an ID document,

Journalist Zofeen T. Ebrahim, who often writes on Pakistan's demography says the trend of having such large families underscores the need to have a population count.

"We're bringing too many babies in this world and there is no plan to absorb them effectively," she tells Dawn.com.

"We can't have a one-child policy so we need to think intelligently on how to bring about a change in the mindset."

She stresses the need for a census. "A census is not just knowing the numbers — it gives a window into the household and how it is living its life."

She adds, "It helps demographers understand the country's population and the direction it is taking. Their input helps in informing a government's policy towards best and most strategic ways to invest in the human capital. Without knowing how many we are, its like policy makers taking a shot in the dark and hoping they get it right."

Ebrahim feels the lack of a population census since 1998 means "we cannot make intelligent and informed decisions on how to make investments that contribute to having small, manageable and healthier families".

"We can never achieve our full potential for economic growth that comes through a demographic dividend."

Dawn Editorial: Census delay

A year has passed since the Council of Common Interests debated the census as part of its agenda item, yet the demographic exercise is no closer to being held today than it was last year.

Everybody agrees that the last census conducted in 1998 is hopelessly out of date, and they all believe that this is a serious problem.

Consider the important issues that are built around the availability of census data: the NFC award, delimitation of electoral constituencies, seat shares in parliament, local bodies polls, targeted subsidies, and all other policy matters that rest on population data.

With the census data from 1998 practically obsolete, it is fair to suppose that all of these important matters today are actually based on suppositions that have no grounding in measured reality. Without a clean and impartial census, we don’t really know the face of the country that we are trying to run and govern.

A new census is badly needed but the obstacles that stand in its way are formidable and need to be acknowledged. At the heart of the foot-dragging is the demographic make-up of Sindh that nobody is very keen to talk about. With the massive population influx over the years, it stands to reason that Sindh has changed in important ways, and the ethnic balance as well as its share in the total population has undergone a profound transformation.

The Sindhi, Mohajir and Pakhtun populations can shift the internal balance of the province, while the influx of people into Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur over the years can alter the share of the province in the total population of the country.

Parties that seek their electoral fortunes in Punjab are reluctant to confront the real picture of what the new population shares of the respective provinces are, since this could affect NFC allocations as well as deal a psychological blow if Punjab’s share of the total population were to dip below 50pc.

Sindh is already reeling from a complex ethnic-based power struggle and any new numbers on the ethnic make-up would upset an uneasy status quo.

With no takers at the national level, the census exercise is being endlessly delayed. But continuing with a fictitious status quo and making policies for a population mix that doesn’t exist any longer is no solution either.

The ruling party must take the lead in initiating a credible move towards a new census, while finding a way to make the exercise agreeable to everyone.

Perhaps the case of India can serve as a model, where they decided to freeze all seat shares in parliament irrespective of what the census revealed. That compromise paved the way for a political consensus around a new census, and could serve as a model for Pakistan too.

One way or another, this government must ensure that a census is held during its term.

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Comments (50) Closed



future
Mar 01, 2016 06:23pm

We also need easy access to vasectomy procedure in primary healthcare facilities in rural areas of this country. Unfortunately, these facilities will never be available to the general public as long these so called Public representative are there to loot the funds allocated.

Sharique - Munich
Mar 01, 2016 06:48pm

Wow.. nice story.. good to hear that he says "is living a happy life with his large family. "

Its a blessing as long as he and children are happyand being well educated.

It seems he has resources to educate them too. Thats good then.

Wishing all the best for the happy family.

indian humanity
Mar 01, 2016 07:07pm

What is this, three wives and thirty three kids. Too much

sid
Mar 01, 2016 07:23pm

A 100,000 for educating his children. What's the monthly fee. In India ...its normal to have monthly fee of INR 5000 TO INR 10000 for a good school. That's 10000 to 20000 in Pak money if I am correct. Not sure if he claims he is taking care of their education.

Fawzia H
Mar 01, 2016 07:29pm

I am at a loss for words. What a sad situation. Pakistan needs a one child policy like China for the next twenty five years or tax every child after the first two. Otherwise I fear we will not be able to sustain ourselves.

Fawzia H
Mar 01, 2016 07:30pm

@Sharique - Munich is it good that he can't remember his children's names?

Amin
Mar 01, 2016 07:31pm

Great. Keep up the good work.

The Observer
Mar 01, 2016 07:56pm

the good part is that he is spending alot on their education.

Indian
Mar 01, 2016 08:02pm

I'm spending approximately INR 200,000 per year for my 2 kids in Bangalore and that is also medium kind of school. Most of the time worrying about the higher education of my these 2 kids only.

Simba
Mar 01, 2016 08:11pm

@Indian It means your cost of living is too high, and you should blame your govt for so called acche din. In India middle class is getting a feeling that we are earning a lot (or much more than previous generation), but unfortunately runaway inflation is eating through our earnings and we are on a hamster run - we stay where we are (financially) despite running a lot.

Biochemist/ Molecular Biologist
Mar 01, 2016 08:39pm

I don't think you need population census, BUT population control or Family Planning!.

flipdlop
Mar 01, 2016 08:55pm

I hope he is able to provide care, and satisfy all the needs for his children and wives. On the other hand Pakistan really needs to push for and educate people on birth control. While large families might be fun and all but that's putting too much strain on women bodies and in the long run they may loose more then gain. Additionally, I dont know how are the schools in Quetta, but Rs 100,000 seems too less for the schools for all the children. Maybe its a government run school, but still this seems such a small amount considering the amount ny father paid for us when i was in school, but nevertheless, I am glad that he's educating them. Also, population growth is becoming a huge issue for Pakistan, especially in todays economy. Job prospects are low, exports are falling, and the loans this country has have sky rocketed, eventually pushing all the burdens on the working class. Current economy cant cater such a huge population.

Anwar Sadiqque
Mar 01, 2016 08:57pm

Backward thinking. Pakistan's population is over 150 million and the country is struggling to provide food, clean water and getting rid of waste. If everyone had 30 children you would end up with an environmental disastor.

SKG
Mar 01, 2016 09:35pm

No body can afford to have 33 children now a days. I don't know how much his income. His duty is to provide food, health, and education. Are these children are vaccinated for polio? i doubt.

Rustom E Hind
Mar 01, 2016 10:03pm

Pakistan says its population is about 190 million now bec most sayit is 180 to 200 million so 190 is reasonable to be assumed correct

but my guess is its about 220 million at present, hope there is a census so I am proved correct

Sad but true
Mar 01, 2016 10:05pm

Congratulations.

Fact
Mar 01, 2016 10:12pm

Look at children they seem neglected,unhygienic

Shahram
Mar 01, 2016 10:33pm

Does anyone care to check how the wives are doing??? SMH

Amar
Mar 01, 2016 10:36pm

Instead of having more children, and wives, try to have one or two kids, and one wife (WIFE), and spend all the resources you have of money, and other things for the betterment of Pakistan, and humanity.

Saima
Mar 01, 2016 10:59pm

My God !!!! I am afraid if he exercises the religious right of 4th marriage ??? He needs to be stopped as soon as possible.

Jibboo
Mar 01, 2016 11:00pm

Has 33 and expecting 2 more....and these guys are worried about the census? For heaven's sake, make Family Planning accessible...

solani
Mar 01, 2016 11:03pm

Its easy to make babies. We need 2 child policy like China.

Kp
Mar 01, 2016 11:49pm

@Fawzia H Wake up friend. China has scrapped one child policy

Bharat
Mar 02, 2016 12:03am

He is an educated man, and a doctor!! and he doesn't know about family planning?? and nobody to advice him ??

Yash
Mar 02, 2016 12:42am

It's 3 cricket teams with extra player!!

johnny
Mar 02, 2016 01:06am

and he is planning for 4th marriage, reaching for 50 children in couple of years...!!

Hats off :)

Aa
Mar 02, 2016 02:20am

People here are mentioning that this guy should be educated about family planning and use of birth control...whereas from the story it seems like he wants more kids and that he can afford them...most people wouldn't go over 3 to 4 kids as they can't afford them...simple economics is forcing the parents to use birth control...

N
Mar 02, 2016 03:18am

One wouldn't call this a large family or even a very large family. Quite truly, I don't know what to call it. From the write up it appears they are all 'happy' and that's what matters in the end.

AHA
Mar 02, 2016 03:24am

An idotic story must be discouraged. When he can't remember names, how can he make them good citizens. He is putting huge pressure on natural resources.

Omar
Mar 02, 2016 05:51am

We need to seriously curb this population explosion. We need to focus on quality rather than quantity. Our population went from 30 million to around 200 million people in approximately 50 years. This is not sustainable and creates a large vacuum for illiteracy and negligence. Need to encourage family planning and birth control for both men and women.

Don't ask
Mar 02, 2016 06:12am

@Fawzia H I'm afraid there will be far too much opposition to that for now, mostly on religious and cultural grounds.

Don't ask
Mar 02, 2016 06:16am

@solani Do you think anyone would agree to that? It would be far better to educate people on the advantages of smaller families. Hopefully they would see the reasoning.

Brar
Mar 02, 2016 06:32am

It reminds me a story of a Muslim fellow from Haryana having 23 children and he was not a doctor but a poor daily wager.

Talha
Mar 02, 2016 07:05am

Keep'em warm and cosy... Love them to bits... Nice family. :)

Talha
Mar 02, 2016 07:20am

What is so wrong with fathering 33 children. They are all legitimate. They live in an intact family. They have a mother and a father to look up to. They are in no shortage of playmates (24/7). They all look happy and hearty. Imagine the bonding/comraderie that will develop among this lot.

Compare this with a family with two kids. All four family members in. Separate rooms. One on his computer the other on the cell phone. Mom and dad consumed by the rat race. Each one of them lonely in a world full of people. Mom and dad need medicine to cope with the stress of life and work. As soon as the kids hit 18, the nest is abandoned.

The cycle repeats.

And repeats.

M M AMIN (Old Ravian)
Mar 02, 2016 07:34am

What ? Is he a medical doctor ? I cannot believe it !

Cyrus
Mar 02, 2016 08:08am

@ M M AMIN (Old Ravian) ... ... He is also a trader, because MDs don't make much money in Pakistan.

Putho Mamon
Mar 02, 2016 08:41am

Very soon he is going to form his own political party.

Shekar
Mar 02, 2016 08:43am

Says he does not remember his children's name. Proves the family is NOT happy. In future the unhappy children will curse the father.

illawarrior
Mar 02, 2016 08:53am

What sort of job does he do, that he can afford to house, clothe, feed and educate so many children?

illawarrior
Mar 02, 2016 08:56am

@Fact No, they do not.

Sudhanshu Swami
Mar 02, 2016 10:04am

He have 33 kids if his kids too have 33 kids and grand kids too then he will have family of more than 35 thousand. While here a small village have population of 1-3 thousand. Definitely his family will be declared a district.

Mahmood
Mar 02, 2016 10:13am

Let's see. 100,000 per month for 33 kids?

That's no more than 3000 per month, per kid. Is that quality education?

And I wonder if he's worked out how much he's going to need to pay for each kid's wedding eventually?

Yeah, having a 'good life'!

Dipak Singh
Mar 02, 2016 10:17am

What ever Jan's monthly income or what ever he expend for education on his child's or how ever he is happy with his large family? the Question is, is it necessary to have 33 children in under developed country? is it OK to birth per wife born 11 children on average per year she's going to pregnant? is it OK if only 40% people start think like that? is it OK lots of family sleeps without food at night? utterly nonsense this is.

Rajan Talwar
Mar 02, 2016 10:58am

A doctor or trader or both by profession

FFK
Mar 02, 2016 11:21am

There is always an exception :-), However in general EDUCATION is ONLY solution to any individual, society or country. The other is the governance, they have the liability to convert labors to SKILLED labor, China is one good example.

Kamran
Mar 02, 2016 11:48am

when he will opt the 4th available option :)

Khan
Mar 02, 2016 12:40pm

census is must. government always targeting the less developed provinces for birth control ( Population control). but its too strange that the biggest province Baluchistan by land has the lowest population.. better to talk about those province who have large population. look for Punjab. if Punjab population drops from 50 %. then punjab is Pakistan slogan will be no more. That why Punjab keeping it on pending and other are forcing them...... its all about Punjab monopoly

Amna
Mar 02, 2016 10:25pm

@Talha What a sensible reply!

ravi vancouver
Mar 03, 2016 01:41am

@FFK Education alone won't change attitude towards population problem. As per news he is a doctor so must be educated and he did not find any thing wrong in having 33 kids. He can not remember his own children's names how he is expected to take care of each child's individual needs and provide attention to their day to day problems. He may be fair to his religious belief but he is unfair to the children, their future development and personal care parenting requires for each child.