Awareness, legislation needed to control ‘population bomb’
The Supreme Court on Monday stated that the construction of dams in the country is the responsibility of the elected government and the judiciary will not interfere in the state’s work. During a hearing of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dam case, a four-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar also said the decision to collect funds for the construction of such projects was not controversial and the government can take over the responsibility if it so wishes.
He further said that the court could not manage details of the project, such as the design and to whom the work should be contracted. Justice Nisar further said that while the public wants the judiciary to supervise fund collection, it was not their responsibility nor did they have the resources to collect such a large amount. Referring to the controversial Kalabagh dam, Justice Nisar said consensus would be left to the public and their elected representatives. He also added that as the country was going to polls on July 25, elections funds could not be collected.
The government established the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dam Fund after the Supreme Court issued directives on July 4 that construction of the two dams should start immediately and appealed to the people, including overseas Pakistanis, to make a contribution for executing the projects.
Meanwhile, as the Supreme Court resumed hearing a suo motu case related to population growth in the country, Justice Saqib Nisar remarked that public awareness as well as relevant legislation is required in order to control the “population bomb”. The attorney general informed the court that population control was assigned to the provinces after the 18th Amendment.
The AG added that one province has reservations over forming of a ‘national policy’ on the matter. The chief justice then remarked that the court can resolve the differences between the provinces. Chief Justice Nisar wondered how people are surviving in interior Sindh, adding whether the provincial government ever realised this. Highlighting how important the case is for the country, the chief justice stated that the growing population is resulting in a shortage of resources and housing.
Talking about the role of women in population control, Chief Justice Nisar remarked that women are used as a tool, adding that they are not provided with adequate birth control measures. In a society of men, women cannot even protest, he lamented further. Chief Justice Nisar observed that without stemming population growth, the country’s development plans cannot succeed, adding that provinces need to follow a policy made at the federal level.