New govts urged to fulfil manifestos on population

By Amer Malik
February 23, 2024

LAHORE:While presenting the analysis of the election manifestos of the four major political parties of the country, Population Council has hoped that the new government newly-elected Prime Minister and Chief Ministers of the four provinces will implement their commitments to ensure balance between growing population and depleting resources in the country.

An aerial view of the National Assembly of Pakistan in Islamabad. — AFP/File

"The newly-formed governments in forthcoming set up in the Centre and provinces must prioritise addressing the challenge of balancing population growth with the available resources of the country, preferably expressing the resolve in inaugural speeches based on their respective manifestos," expressed the participants of Media Coalition meeting, held under the aegis of Population Council held the other day, as they examined the sustainable population growth agenda in the manifestos of top four political parties, including PMLN, PPP, PTI and MQM-P.

The Population Council's Senior Director Programmes Dr Ali Mir, Project Director Samia Ali, Senior Communication Officer Ikramul Ahad informed the members of Media Coalition belonging to various media outlets from all provinces that the religio-political parties were also contacted but sustainable population growth was not a priority agenda of their respective election manifestos.

The experts urged the media to hold political parties accountable for commitments under their respective election manifestos regarding population management in relation to availability of resources in the country.

The participants emphasised the importance of all governments' political will in ensuring balance between population and resources, which will help achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2030) and lay the foundation for a positive direction for all future governments in the country.

While scrutinising the election manifestos vis-a-vis sustainable population growth agenda of the country's four major political parties, the Population Council urged the media partners to not only hold the mirror to these parties after coming to power, but also to stress the importance of harnessing the growing population to create economic opportunities for diverse groups of people.

The experts also warned that the increasing, unmanageable population in Pakistan is straining the country's resources, particularly its limited natural resources, and it may take the form of a crisis in the near future. For context, the water scarcity due to fast depleting storage capacity of water reservoirs may affect agricultural output and food security in the country.

In view of the importance of the addressing the challenge of unmanageable population, the meeting emphasised upon the main political parties to realise the ground realities and ensure the implementation of commitments, under their respective election manifestos presented in the recent elections, with regard to managing population growth in relation to available resources in the country.

Starting from public endorsements of population management by the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers of all four provinces, all political parties should convert their respective population management commitments into policies and ensure their implementation. The political parties have a vital role to play in enhancing family planning services through judicious resource allocation and efficient spending, which would ultimately lead to sustainable development of the country.

The meeting stressed that media persons have a crucial national responsibility to keep reminding various government figures and party leaders about the priorities on population welfare presented in the election manifestos.