If the measure of growth is population alone, then we can claim without fear of refutation that Pakistan’s economy is growing at fast track. But when all other indicators are nose-diving, growing population is a lethal bomb for any economy; more lethal than any other explosive device invented so far. International fugitive Osama bin Laden hiding in Pakistan can be guilty of many crimes but his latest crime which came to light only yesterday is most unforgiveable; he fathered four children while he was hiding in Pakistan– two of them born in government hospitals. The details of bin Laden’s life as a fugitive in Pakistan are contained in the interrogation report of Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al-Sada, bin Laden’s 30-year-old Yemeni widow leaked by mainstream media. They appear to raise questions about how bin Laden, being the subject of a massive international manhunt, was able to concentrate on having so many children.
May be it was climatic compulsion that OBL could not help it. According to the preliminary findings of Pakistan’s latest census, the country’s population has increased by 46.9 per cent between the period of 1998 and 2001. The rate of growth for the subsequent years would be no different. According to a news report in Times of India, the findings signify that the province of Balochistan witnessed the highest population growth and Punjab the least. The the number of households experienced an increase of 50.4 per cent since 2011 whereas the population increased from 130,857,717 in 1998 to 192,288,944 in the same year.
The results did not include three districts of Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, South Waziristan and certain areas of Kashmir. However, the inclusion of these areas will shoot the results further up to 197,361,691 in 2011 as opposed to 134,714,017 in 1998. According to the report, Balochistan’s population increased by 139. 3 per cent, whereas Sindh witnessed an 81.5 per cent increase.
The population of Federally Administrated tribal areas (Fata) increased from 2,746,490 to 4,452,913, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from 17,743,645 to 26,896,829, Islamabad from 805,235 to 1,151,868 and Punjab from 73,621,290 to 91,379,615.
The immediate consequences of this reckless and senseless growth are devastating. Government alone cannot be blamed for increasing numbers of poverty statistics, shortages and diminishing access of masses to basic amenities of life. The ultimate blame can be laid at the doors of the people themselves who are criminally unaware of the consequences of being willful players for the economic mess.