Pakistan is facing multiple challenges on the eve of its 75th Independence but one of the biggest challenges is the impending demographic disaster: according to World Health Organization, Pakistan is one of a few countries which will be responsible for global population rise in the coming years. Pakistan is currently the fifth most populous nation in the world and we are on track to hit a population of 300 million by 2030.
Instead of a demographic dividend, we are faced with a perfect storm. “Inadequate investment in education and poor economic growth have generated enormous resentment and anger among a youth cohort that sees few prospects for advancement amid contracting employment opportunities. The effects of climate change are bearing down unmistakably upon us and making scarce resources even more so. Unpredictable weather patterns and rising temperatures are adversely affecting harvests and exacerbating food insecurity. Population pressures also leave us much more vulnerable to international developments such as the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war that disrupt global supply chains. Shortages of water and electricity have already begun to spark unrest; the smallest provocation, it seems, is enough to trigger mob violence in a people whose patience has been stretched thin by poor governance, rising inflation and urban crime. This is not how a country’s future is secured.”
As an editorial in Dawn noted “We are fighting a losing battle, slipping inexorably towards a dystopian future where want and deprivation will be our lot. The reason? There are simply too many of us: the pace at which Pakistan’s population is growing is fast outstripping our ability to provide for the millions that call this country home. Unbelievably, there still appears to be no well-thought-out and cohesive population control program in the offing. The government must snap out of its ostrich-like attitude and use all the means at its disposal to address the issue.”