The Supreme Court on Tuesday in its verdict in a suo motu case on the increasing population said that the government, civil society and religious scholars should all take steps to tackle the issue.
A three-member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, was hearing the case. Population control is the latest campaign the SC has extended its support to.
According to the 2017 census, which was held after a gap of 19 years, the country’s population is approximately 207,774,520 living in 32,205,111 households. The results show that Pakistan has moved up the ladder becoming the fifth most populous nation only behind India, China, the United States and Indonesia. Top government officials have decided to reduce the population growth rate of 2.4 per cent per annum to 1.5pc.
The SC in its verdict today observed that an increasing population is a stress on the country's resources and likened the growth to an explosion.
"We need a campaign to decrease the population," the court said. "It is a question of the future of our coming generations."
"The entire nation must stand united on the matter of population planning," said chief justice Nisar, who has termed unbridled population growth as the "most disastrous issue" for Pakistan.
In yesterday's hearing, the court was told by the health secretary that a demographic survey is conducted every five years. The last one was in 2018 and its results bore little difference compared to the survey before that, the secretary told the bench.
The chief justice asked about progress made on its earlier orders, to which the secretary had responded that a report was submitted.
"Every three months, the court will assess the implementation of the report," the chief justice said, referring to recommendations made by a task force that had been set up to probe the matter.
"Not adhering to the task force's recommendations could lead to the destruction of the country," Justice Nisar had warned.