It is encouraging to see that one of Pakistan’s most central challenges, one that is the root cause of many social ills and exacerbates other structural problems – is being acknowledged by country’s top officials. The problems caused by overpopulation may be associated more with the gargantuan nations of India, China and Brazil, but Pakistan suffers the same issues in proportion to its landmass – we too are severely overpopulated; a fact that must not go unoticed.

While wrapping up a fundraising event in Birmingham for the construction of dams, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday revealed that the next campaign the Supreme Court would support would be centred on population control. In the words of the CJP “There will be a conference regarding this in the Supreme Court... on December 12 or 13, and the prime minister and I will also be part of the conference.”

The Chief Justice has used his discretionary powers in the past to drive change in many fields. While much of the process is still under active court oversight, his notices have managed to draw attention of the nation to many pressing problems - the renewed focus on conservation of water resources and the construction of dams is the perfect example of that.

It is hoped that this recent initiative of the CJP brings the same benefit to this forgotten cause. Population controls and family planning programs have long been abandoned by conservative governments, and successive ones have refused to touch what they term a “sensitive” subject. It is time such squeamish attitudes are dropped and serious thought put into fixing our runaway population growth.

The CJP’s initiative is surely welcome, but with already so much on his plate - as well as his regular duties to the judiciary – one hopes that he is able to do justice to them all.