Family planning isn’t a new practice. It provides families with options to control pregnancy & observe gaps between childbirth. If done correctly, it helps in effective population control. Also, it reduces health risks among women and kids. Moreover, controlling fertility gives a boost to economic growth.
Meanwhile, overall fertility rate is affected by contraceptive use, induced abortion, postpartum in-susceptibility, and marriage patterns. Out of these four dimensions, a focus on effective family planning is must for Pakistan towards accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This article draws links between effective family planning and the development of Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Overpopulation Issue & Impact on Development
Pakistan is the fifth most populated nation in the world. It has a population of 217 million. The population growth is 2.4%. The growing population numbers are to surpass developmental efforts. In turn, they proceed to unfavorably affect the:
- Quality of Life.
Pakistan has one of the highest population growth rates in the world. By 2050, we will exceed 350 million people. The primary reason for such massive growth is non-existent family planning. Consequently, a large population of the country is suffering from poverty, unemployment, and lawlessness.
When comparing Pakistan’s economy with other South-Asia countries, it may score a bit better. But, it fares somewhat worse than its neighbors when it comes to dealing with hunger. Especially in Sindh province, 50 % of kids below five years old are stunted. Furthermore, 19 percent are critically suffering from malnutrition. The region’s severe food insecurity arises from a lack of investment in the infrastructure and population issue.
Challenging to Build Resilient Infrastructure for Overpopulation
Rapid urbanization is what we’re foreseeing in Pakistan. It becomes difficult for the government to respond to infrastructural, health, security, and education demands. Unchecked population growth will result in an added 2.6 million urban families.
Therefore, this will cause a higher demand on existing infrastructure to meet the increased need. The current state of the economy makes investment in infrastructure unlikely. Thus, the already crippled infrastructure will come under further strain.
Clean Water and Sanitation
Unchecked population growth doubles the consumption of natural resources. However, family planning is useful in mitigating these consequences. By controlling the growth, it decreases demand and preserves natural resources.
Hurdle in Economic Growth
Countries see economic from lower fertility rates. Through effective family planning, the population structure changes from youthful to a more even distribution of age groups. Meanwhile, Pakistan currently lies in the middle degree of this demographic change. Among other reforms, the country must reduces the rate of fertility.
Thus, the state would have a chance to stimulate economic growth through the potential of the demographic distribution. Resultantly, drops in fertility rates would eventually result in a decline in the dependency ratio and a rise in the proportion of the working-age population.
This proportionate increase in the working-age population, if correctly planned for, can boost worker per capita output and thereby spur economic growth.
Factors Contributing to Overpopulation
The following paragraphs discuss how various factors play a major role in Pakistan’s population crisis.
Little Emphasis on Family Planning
Some people believe that it’s wrong to engage in family planning. Girls are required to have as many kids as possible during child-bearing age. Consequently, 70 percent of them opt for no birth control method or whatsoever.
This is a contributory factor to the increasing population in Pakistan. However, this article later discusses the correct view of Islam regarding birth control and family planning. Various ahadith and Ayah are made a part of the discussion to elaborate on the issue.
Research in Pakistan concludes that young women typically are not able to make the ultimate decision about use of contraceptives. This plays its role in contributing to overpopulation because women aren’t allowed to make decisions on their own, and mostly their reproductive decisions are made by men.
The lack of control over women’s early marriages also affects the social and economic foundation of society. The population growth rate in Pakistan, at 1.95 percent, is already higher than most South Asian nations. With child marriages heading to earlier pregnancies, it increases the population. It is culturally and economically dampening and crippling.
People often quote the Ayah,
“And kill not your children for fear of poverty — We provide for them and you. Surely the killing of them is a great wrong” (17:31).
Many people interpret this Ayah to conclude family planning is Haram. And that they should have as many kids as possible. What people fail to understand is that there can be various interpretations of this Ayah. And opting for family planning is certainly not killing any life. Instead, it is being mindful about how many kids you can provide.
Creation is in the hand of Allāh (SwT) alone. Whether or not we engage in birth control practice, if Allāh (SwT) wills, the child will be conceived. In conclusion, the above aĥādith proves that birth control is permissible.
Pakistan Takes in a High Number of Refugees
Pakistan’s refugee community alone is around two million. This is among the greatest of all countries’ refugee residents. Even still, Prime Minister, backs giving citizenship to at least 1.5 million refugees.
Lack of Education and Awareness
Pakistan’s adult literacy rate is at 65%. It means that 35% adults cannot sign their own names on a paper. One can only imagine what values these 35% hold. Thus, this illiteracy issue in Pakistan and lack of awareness gives rise to overpopulation.
Lack of Government’s Will and Capability
Pakistan’s government has discussed the possibility of decreasing the population growth rate from 2.1 percent as of 2018 to 1.5 percent by 2025, but no official plans have been established. The Supreme Court of Pakistan even proposed a two-child limit on families. But the idea was met with strong opposition from the conservative Muslim majority.
Family Planning Not A Taboo
Effective family planning has the potential to protect the lives of women and kids. In addition to this, it can promote economic development. Moreover, it can equip the country to respond to growing challenges. For example, it can help respond to challenges associated with education, urbanization, climate change and more.
Hence, family planning enables men and women to manage the coveted size of their family units. Consequently, family planning must remain a top-most preference for successive governments. And it should never be considered as a taboo practice. Islam is the religion of enlightenment. Thus, it can never support practices that go against human development.