The United Nations, in a new report, projects that the population in Pakistan will exceed 300 million by 2050. Currently, it is estimated that the number stands at 190 million. With the burden of this population, Pakistan faces food, water and energy crises presently. We look forward to a grim future, if these crises are not addressed in time.

The successive governments have failed to provide millions of Pakistanis a life above the poverty line. Millions of children remain without access to education because extremely poor parents have eight to ten offspring and do not have the means to send them to school. Millions of women do not have access to maternal healthcare and education regarding their health and decisions regarding family planning. Millions of men remain clueless as to how they can improve their quality of lives in a safe and amenable manner, just because there is a lack of awareness and the topic of family planning is a still a social taboo.

Today, women are relatively more empowered than before whereas men are more receptive, as the crippling poverty forces them to face alternate solutions. Family planning has always and will remain to be a private and religious matter for most. Hence, certain sensitivity is required to address this problem. Easily accessible contraceptives and information regarding them is an important service that the state should be providing. Government funded incentives for small families will also be an effective tool in controlling the population numbers.

Government will and attention is extremely necessary to address this particularly sensitive issue. They need to learn from the shortcomings of the previous family planning campaigns and analyse why they failed. Education and awareness is key.