Pakistan has the highest birth rate in South Asia, as the country’s population surges.
Pakistan recently conducted its first census in 19 years and the census shows that the country’s population is nearly 200 million (or 196,744,376). Two decades ago, Pakistan’s population was about 130 million.
The census also shows that a mother gives birth to three children on an average in Pakistan. The rate is even higher among the tribes. As per the latest census, having multiple children has become a ‘status symbol’ in the country. Some people have more than 22, 24 or 36 children. It has also been found that three men have fathered nearly 100 children, 96 to be precise.
Experts have expressed serious concern about the scenario, saying that the growing population will put Pakistan’s economy under tremendous pressure in the coming years. They have urged the Nawaz Sharif government in Islamabad to take necessary steps in order to control the population, as nearly 60 million people are living below the poverty line. “It definitely is a problem because it is affecting health outcomes adversely and also eating into development gains,” said Zeba A Sathar, Country Director for the UN Population Council.
However, common Pakistani people are not at all worried. Gulzar Khan, a proud father of 36 children from Punjab Province, said: “God has created the entire universe and all human beings, so why should I stop the natural process of a baby’s birth?” Majority of the people in Pakistan’s tribal areas wants the concerned authorities to concentrate on other issues. They argue that Islam is against the family planning.
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