ISLAMABAD Ministry of Population Development is contemplating to involve graduates of local Madaris (religious schools) in its public sensitisation schemes regarding population control. The government in its endeavour to counter the population challenge is keen to make optimum of the influence enjoyed by religious sections in the society, amidst projected surge in population to 202.11 million by 2023. Mian Moazzam Shah, Director General Ministry of Population Development, in a press statement on Friday said the ministry had already engaged 22,800 Ulema and Imams of various mosques in its schemes of public counselling vis-a-vis family planning. There is already considerable awareness among our people about one or the other method of family planning and the need is to counter prevalent myths and misunderstanding about these, he said mentioning that preachers are being actively involved as counselors. He said there was growing demand for family planning, even in the remote areas. It is in this backdrop that we have developed linkages with non-governmental organisations that do provide required services at subsidised rates, said Moazzam Shah. Regarding National Population Policy 2010, he said people would witness a paradigm shift in the approach towards the issue of population control in the country, with major focus on inter-spousal counselling. We will also attempt, at all levels, to convince people that small family is for their general well being, he said. Moazzam said under the forthcoming policy, equal emphasis would be given to health of women and men. Message under the Policy 2010 would be family planning by choice and voluntary appreciation of the same. He stressed the need to improve available facilities that should easily be made accessible to the targeted population.