Parliamentary forum on population launched President Alvi urges legislators to play role in raising awareness on population

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Zubair Qureshi

Unchecked population growth impacts all areas of national life and results in poverty, lack of education & health services and food insecurity.
Legislators being representatives of the people of Pakistan play important role in developing effective policies for well-being of the citizens.” This was stated by President Arif Alvi in his inaugural speech at the launch of the Parliamentary Forum on Population.
Addressing the audience at the launching ceremony, President Alvi spoke about the importance of population planning to achieve sustainable population growth in the country.
He pointed out the role of the Ulema and parliamentarians as major vehicles in achieving sustainable population growth. The president urged the media to create mass awareness on the issue and cast a national message that instills responsibility amongst the public.
The president reaffirmed the government’s role in providing quality services for improving mother and child health through birth spacing and promoting breast feeding. The launch ceremony was attended by dignitaries, ministers, members of the senate, national and provincial assemblies, religious scholars.
Parliamentary Forum on Population has been established to raise parliamentary awareness on population, sustain cross-party political commitment and advocate for population stabilization in the parliament. Parliamentarians, both from the federal and provincial parliaments and the Senate will constitute the Forum. The Forum will take stock of the progress made on the 2018 CCI recommendations that call for ensuring universal access to family planning and reproductive health services across Pakistan to accelerate fertility transition in the country. The forum aims to pave way for supportive legislation in the parliament that will help improve people’s access to reproductive health services and promote balance between population and resources. The Population Council will provide technical assistance to the Forum with support from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Earlier in her welcome remarks, Country Director Population Council, Dr Zeba Sathar lauded the government’s initiatives and sustained political commitment in creating an enabling sociopolitical environment to advance fertility transition in the country.
Citing fertility and demographic trends of Pakistan, Dr Sathar said if Pakistan was closer to fertility levels of the rest of the region, it could save thousands of mothers’ lives, and have 40 million fewer Pakistanis living in poverty.
Leader of the House in Senate Syed Shibli Faraz said the recent unanimous resolution on the alarming rate of population growth that was moved by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed and was passed by the Senate of Pakistan on January 20, 2020 was testimony of the seriousness of political support for population issues.

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