ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday urged provinces to chalk out a joint strategy to combat uncontrolled population growth and asked ulema and the media to play an effective role towards overcoming this problem.

“Provincial governments should adopt an integrated approach and share their expertise, research and experiences with each other to stem the tide of rising population,” the president said while chairing the fourth meeting of the Federal Task Force on Alarming Population Growth in Pakistan at the Presidency.

“Ulema and the media played an exceptional role in creating awareness about Covid-19 and they can also play an instrumental role in educating people about implications of burgeoning population in their Friday sermons and talk shows,” he added and appreciated steps taken by provincial governments with regard to family planning.

Mr Alvi said there is a need to educate people about family planning and monitoring the growing population in the country and finances must be arranged for this. A donor conference on population should be organised to help the government in stemming the rising tide of population, he pointed out, adding, rapidly growing population has a negative impact on the environment and was putting tremendous pressure on the natural and economic resources of the country.

Provincial representatives, including from AJK, briefed participants of the meeting about the measures taken by their respective governments for promoting family planning services. The governments are seriously focusing on population control measures by allocating more resources, enhancing the availability of contraceptives, creating awareness through media, training and increasing human resource to cope with the challenge of growing population, they pointed out.

It was agreed that the provincial governments would proactively engage ulema, khateebs and other religious leaders to promote healthy family norms in the country.

Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noorul Haq Qadri said rapidly growing population could only be overcome with the active support of ulema, media and civil society. He assured the participants that ulema would extend their support to sensitise people about the alarming population growth.

CII Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz highlighted the need to focus on girls’ education and community participation to raise awareness about family planning.

Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2021

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