The Sindh Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a private resolution urging the provincial government to take population control measures, which should include launching public awareness...
The Sindh Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a private resolution urging the provincial government to take population control measures, which should include launching public awareness programmes. The resolution was moved in the House by Rana Ansar, an opposition legislator belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P).
Speaking on the resolution, Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said the provincial government is fully aware of its obligations regarding the cause of population welfare. She said Sindh has witnessed the maximum work for the cause of population welfare when compared with other provinces of the country.
The provincial minister said that former prime minister Benazir Bhutto had launched the programme of lady health workers in the country. Dr Azra said Thar needs 500 lady health workers, while 1,500 more lady health workers will be recruited for Karachi.
She said that the use of different techniques of contraceptives has been promoted among the residents of rural parts of Sindh. She informed the House that the use of contraceptives has decreased among the non-locals residing in Karachi.
She said that a large number of people live in the metropolitan city who are actually not natives of the provincial capital. She added that the provincial government has been making efforts to raise public awareness regarding this issue.
She disclosed to the members of the House that Sindh is the only province in the country where the ratio of birth spacing has increased among its population. She claimed that subjects related to life skills and family welfare have been added to the curricula. She said that 200 hospitals across the province have been designated as centres for the provision of services related to population welfare.
Dr Azra said the provincial government has been ably fulfilling its obligations in this regard, but it is also obligatory on both members of a married couple to fully acknowledge and fulfil their obligations regarding the cause of population welfare, as they should consult each other to make an informed choice regarding the number of their off-spring.
Speaking on her resolution, the MQM-P’s Rana Ansar said Sindh and Balochistan are the only two provinces that have formed task forces for the cause of population welfare. She said that topics related to population welfare can be included in the curricula for students. She added that issues related to the increase in population have been growing owing to the decrease in national resources.
Another opposition legislator of the MQM-P, Mohammad Hussain Khan, said the chief justice of Pakistan has also expressed serious reservations over the ever-increasing population growth rate in the country.
He claimed that the population growth rate of Pakistan has even surpassed that of Bangladesh, China, India and other countries of the region, while the population welfare departments of the provincial governments have been doing nothing to mitigate the alarming situation.
He said that the civic infrastructure available in Karachi can cater to only 10 million people, but the population of the city has actually crossed well beyond the mark of 20 million.
Syed Abdul Rasheed, an MPA of the opposition Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, said that instead of launching a programme to control population, programmes should be initiated by the government for the welfare of the people. He said that God has given His firm assurance to His creatures regarding the fulfilment of their food requirements.
He said China and India have much greater populations than that of Pakistan, but the food requirements of the people living in the two countries are being fulfilled by God. He suggested that one should follow the tenets of Islam in order to end their sufferings.
The parliamentary party leader of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Haleem Adil Sheikh, said that Sindh’s population welfare department has been doing nothing to mitigate the alarming situation regarding child marriages and the related health issues in Thar.
He suggested that there should be a minimum birth spacing of three years for ensuring better health of both the mother and her newborn child. Later, the House was adjourned to resume at 10am on Wednesday (today).