PR No. 106
Asif Ali Zardari President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
(Message on the occasion of World Population Day on 11th July, 2024)
Islamabad: July 10, 2024

On this World Population Day, we reflect on the critical importance of population dynamics in shaping our nation's future. Population of Pakistan, counted as 241 million (Census-2023), is growing at a high rate of 2.55%. Our population is projected to reach 263 million by 2030 and 383 million by 2050. With the rapidly increasing population, it is imperative that we understand the profound impact that population growth has on our socio-economic development. Our young population, which constitutes the majority, is a vibrant and dynamic force that holds immense potential for driving our nation towards prosperity. However, to harness this potential, we must ensure that our youth have access to quality education, healthcare, and employment opportunities which are significantly affected by imbalance between the available resources and the size of our country’s population. Pakistan faces significant challenges in managing its population growth, which directly affects our resources and public services. Despite being water-abundant at the time of independence, we are now one of the water-stressed countries in the world; our agricultural land is being converted into housing areas, threatening our food security and consequently affecting the nutritional status of our citizens especially children. This stark reality underscores the urgent need to address population growth through effective family planning and reproductive health services. Our total fertility rate and high maternal and infant mortality rates indicate that we must redouble our efforts to improve healthcare services, particularly for women and children. By prioritizing health and family planning initiatives, we can ensure a healthier, more sustainable future for the nation. To foster an environment where every Pakistani can succeed, it is crucial to manage population growth by aligning our resources with the population size. The new national narrative of ‘Tawazun’ approved by all stakeholders, including the Ulema, invites people to practice family planning voluntarily enabling parents to fulfill the fundamental rights of children. Achieving 'Tawazun' between population and resources ensures genuine prosperity. A well-balanced and sustainable population can drive economic growth, improve living standards, and alleviate poverty. On this World Population Day, I urge all stakeholders, including government bodies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector, to collaborate in addressing the population challenges we face. In this regard, I would like to highlight the critical importance of inclusive data in the realm of family planning. As we strive to improve health outcomes and empower individuals and communities, it is essential to recognize that data inclusivity is a cornerstone for informed decision-making and effective policy development. By capturing data that reflects the experiences of different genders, ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, and abilities, we can work towards a future where everyone has equal opportunities to progress. In this way, together we can achieve the vision of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed that she shared with the world community at International Conference on Population and Development Cairo 1994. She said, “I dream of a Pakistan, of an Asia, of a world where every pregnancy is planned and every child conceived is nurtured, loved, educated and supported.”