Islamabad-Pakistan People’s Party leader Senator Farhatullah Babar Tuesday said that the next National Finance Commission Award should be linked to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the provinces.

Addressing a seminar here organised by the Population Council, the PPP leader said that task forces in all houses of parliament including the provincial assemblies should be set up to oversee the implementation of promises made for the implementation of the goals of human and social development.

He proposed that the political parties, gearing up for general elections next year, should be asked to make clear cut commitments with regard to population issues in their manifestos while reviewing these for the elections.

“A strong case for national population emergency be made by highlighting the acute water scarcity, worsening climate change, massive internal migration of population and environmental degradation faced by the country,” he said.

Senator Babar said provinces should also give a serious thought to set up Provincial Financial Commissions and link the award to regions and districts to the achievements of SDG targets by the local government.

He said that the doubling period of Pakistan’s population was about 30 years. By this growth there would be 400 million people living in the country by 2045, he said and warned of its disastrous consequences on social development indices.

He said the challenge called for involving every sector including the federal, provincial and local governments, the political parties, the assemblies, the media, religious scholars and the civil society in a participatory national effort.

“The approach should be participatory and based on incentives rather than coercive and centralised,” he added.

Babar said that since 2002, Pakistan had been making commitments, announced population policy and perspective plans but there had been no tangible progress.

“Why is this? The fundamental reason is that Pakistan has veered away from a welfare driven state to a state driven by security. Such a state is unlikely to achieve the SDG targets,” he added.