ISLAMABAD -  Pakistan needs to follow ‘Iran or Bangladesh’ models to contain the fast increasing population as the crucial issue affecting the future of the country has gone almost unheeded.

The rapidly increasing population ratio at an estimated 2.4 percent is becoming a burden on national resources and the ticking time bomb could explode soon if the current growth rate was not contained without further delay.

The alarming population growth could lead to dangerous consequences for the country if some successful models of the world like that of ‘Iran or Bangladesh’ were not emulated.

The issue came under deliberation at the last 34th meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) held a couple of days ago. “A suggestion of a national programme was floated to contain the rapid population growth to deal with future challenges,” a CCI member privy to the discussion of the meeting told The Nation.

“The issue came under discussion while discussing the issue of delimitation of constituencies in the light of results of the 6th Population Census in the country,” he said.

“It was suggested that the crucial issue should be paid due attention by thrashing out a joint strategy by all federating units to control the population,” said the member who had attended the CCI meeting.

“The current population ratio should be controlled to cope with challenges including global warming, water scarcity, pollution (noise/smog), climate changes and others,” he said.

Chief ministers Shehbaz Sharif, Murad Ali Shah, Pervaiz Khattak and Sanaulla Zehri, in presence of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, verbally agreed to take the growing population issue seriously, he said.

Pakistan is reportedly among the 10 largest countries in the world whose population has been projected to exceed 300 million by 2050.

When contacted, Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Pirzada also confirmed that the challenges the country could face in the future were discussed at the last CCI meeting with a reference to the growing population.  Answering a question about any meeting to further deliberate the important issue, Pirzada said the matter was not specifically on the agenda of the upcoming CCI meeting.

New projections released by the United Nations say Pakistan was the sixth country among the 10 largest countries in the world whose population is estimated to exceed 300 million by 2050.

The findings of the ‘World Population Prospects’ released by the UN also said that among the 10 largest countries, five are in Asia with Pakistan one of them. The other countries include Bangladesh, China, India and Indonesia.

Pakistan’s current total population, according to recently conducted population census, has touched 207.744520 million with an average annual growth of 2.4 percent from the calendar year 1998.

According to provisional results of the census, the population numbered 132,189,531 in rural and 75,584,989 in urban areas, showing an overall population growth of 57 percent from 1998 to 2017.

The figures recorded in the census also showed a 2.23 percent growth in rural areas and 2.7 percent in urban areas during these years as the male population at present stands at 106,449,322 and the female population at 101,314,780, while the population of transgender persons stands at 10,418.