ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani expressed his displeasure over the performance of an artist on the 'theme song of the function held at Prime Minister Secretariat on World Population Day and directed to avoid such activity in official functions in future. Before the start of the function, a dancer performed the theme song on World Population Day. Though the Prime Minister did not interrupt during the schedule but later expressed his distaste to the activity at the official functions. He also directed his staff to avoid such activities in official functions held at the Prime Minister Secretariat or the PM House. The sources in the Prime Minister Secretariat informed that the Premier had also expressed his annoyance with the Federal Minister for Population Welfare Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan as well. Fozia Azam adds: Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani Saturday said that unless population growth was checked, Pakistans problems could not be addressed through economic measures alone. Low GDP growth along with high population growth rates had put Pakistan in a situation where it was hard to provide relief to common man, Premier Gilani said while addressing a function to commemorate the World Population Day here on Saturday. The Prime Minister was flanked by the Federal Minister for Population Welfare Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to PM on Social Welfare Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Country Representative UNFPA Daniel Becker and other parliamentarians. He said though population growth rate of 3.8 per cent had been lowered to 1.8 per cent, however, it should be reduced to 1.3 per cent or less by year 2020. While commenting on the theme of World Population Day 'Responding to Economic Crises: Investing in Women is a Smart Choice, he said government is fully cognisant of the fact that without active involvement of women in socio-economic activities, it is not possible to meet the present day challenges. He urged for sincere efforts to bring women in national mainstream aimed to utilise their potential for the countrys development. He mentioned that millions of women around the globe were suffering because of insufficient necessary tools, including better education and health. He said in Pakistan large number of women die during pregnancy. On proposal regarding linking population equation with poverty reduction programmes, he directed the Ministry of Population Welfare to prepare a comprehensive proposal in consultation with concerned institutions for consideration of the Cabinet. To endorse the efforts of Ministry of Population Welfare, he asked the concerned ministries, including Finance and Planning for ensuring availability of resources for addressing the issue of population to derive maximum benefits for the masses. He announced regularisation of the services of Social Mobilisers and Medical Doctors working under Population Welfare Programme at federal and provincial level with immediate effect. The prime minister said he would issue directions to the Ministry of Population Welfare to immediately propose a governing body at par with Pakistan Nursing Council for the accreditation of diploma of Family Welfare Workers and also to prepare a scheme for launching the initiative of female-village based family planning workers for consideration by the Planning Commission. Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Population Welfare Firdous Ashiq Awan said this years theme Responding to Economic Crises: Investing in Women is a Smart Choice, is a wake up call for all social sectors to focus on speeding up initiatives for the uplift and improvement of quality of life of women. She said the Population Policy of Pakistan 2002 is cognisant of these facts and our programmes are focused to improve the dismal demographic indicators of a high maternal, child and infant mortality that are the underlying factors for improving the health of women in Pakistan. The Ministry, under the slogan Population First is expanding its existing service delivery component with focus upon outreach activities to bridge the existing gap between demand and services, she added. She informed that in pursuance of the recommendations of the Ulemas Seminar, the ministry is planning to give preference to male and female religious leaders to engage them as social mobilisers at grass root level so that they could be instrumental in sensitising the masses about population issues, including the health of mothers and children. Addressing the gathering Country, Representative UNFPA Daniel Becker said to control the rapid population explosion, UNFPA is working at international level with a comprehensive strategy. He said UNFPA believes in gender equity and it is working in Pakistan to provide health, education facilities to the masses.