Population Policy of Pakistan

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Introduction:
Pakistan's population has increased from 34 million in 1951 to 152 million in mid 2005. The addition of over 116 million Pakistanis in just five decades is due to the high population growth rates in the last thirty years. Continuing high population growth will amount to Pakistan's population reaching 220 million by the year 2020. Coupled with poor human development indicators such as low:

a)Literacy
b)high infant mortality
c)low economic growth rates
d)poor health facilities
e)poor educational facilities

Such a large population will undermine efforts being undertaken to reduce poverty and to improve the standards of living of the populace.

While Population Growth Rate (PGR) has declined from over 3 percent in previous decades to its current level of 2.1 percent per annum, Pakistan still has an unacceptably high rate of growth compared to other developing countries. Therefore the Government of Pakistan is attaching the highest priority to the lowering of the population growth rate (PGR) from its current level to 1.9 percent per annum by the year 2004 and to reaching replacement level of fertility by the year 2020.

Pakistan is faced with its ever-largest adolescent population, because of its high levels of fertility over the last few decades and its very recent fertility decline. The adolescent population, in the age group of 15-24, as it enters into its reproductive phase embodies potential population growth for several decades. It constitutes population momentum in the future that has serious implications for provision of schooling, health services and other basic amenities of life for the coming decades. The Population Welfare Program has been able to create universal awareness about family planning with the current contraceptive prevalence rate of 30 percent. The challenge is to ensure continuous use by current users and increase existing CPR by meeting the percent unmet need for family planning services of currently married women along with sustaining the demand of new entrants in the reproductive age group.

Over one third of Pakistanis are living in poverty. The impact of population growth on poverty is obvious, since poorer families, especially women and marginalized groups bear the burden of a large number of children with much fewer resources further adding to the spiral of poverty and deterioration in the status of women. This large part of the population is constrained to live in poor housing and sanitation conditions and lack of access to safe drinking water. In particular, income poverty leads to pressures on food consumption and adversely affects caloric intakes and increasing malnutrition in poorer families and contributes to high levels of child and maternal morbidity and mortality. Furthermore, rapid population growth contributes to environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources.

The dynamics of Pakistan's demographic variables compel that a vigilant eye be kept on the phenomena of population growth. The Population Policy of Pakistan 2002 is in congruence with the ICPD paradigm shift to holistic care of the family, client centered quality care in family planning & RH. The government's Poverty Reduction Strategy and the Population Sector perspective Plan 2012 framework sets out improvements in the quality of life of all persons, including children, adolescents, adults, and aged, both male and female.

Population and development inter-relationships have been elaborated most comprehensively in the ICPD Program of Action in 1994 to which Pakistan is a signatory. The main thrust of ICPD is that each country brings into balance its resources with population through a policy, which is in accordance with its own social, cultural, religious and political realities.

This Population Policy is designed to achieve social and economic revival by curbing rapid population growth and thereby reducing its adverse...
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