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Health

Pakistan's Supreme Court Urges Rule Limiting Families to 2 Children


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Reducing population growth in low-income countries is key to ending poverty. Pakistan’s government is under pressure to act on its goal to lower its birth rate by 2025. You can join us in taking action on this issue here

Pakistan is working to combat overpopulation and lift the country out of poverty.

The Supreme Court asked officials and leaders to take action on population control and encourage families to only have two children on Tuesday, the Times of India reports

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"The increasing population is a burden on the country's resources. It is about the future of the next generation,” the court said.

Poverty is considered to be the leading cause of overpopulation. Lack of education and higher death rates in poverty-stricken countries lead families to keep trying to have healthy babies.

Pakistan is the world’s fifth-most populated country in the world, and out of 207,774,520 people, 29.5% of them live below the national poverty line.

Health Secretary Captain Zahid Saeed said a plan is in place to decrease the population growth rate to 1.5% by 2025, but no concrete solutions are in place yet. 

Assemblymember Agha Siraj Durrani said Pakistani culture encourages women to have big families despite the lack of resources in the country. 

Back in 1968, the UN declared, “parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and the spacing of their children.” The two-child limit could potentially infringe on that freedom. 

Read More: Pakistan Just Passed One of the World's Most Progressive Trans Rights Bills

Female lawmakers in Sindh Assembly want to protect poor women and children from the health risks associated with population growth and suggested sterilizing men, according to the Express Tribune. 

Research shows if women delay childbirth and increase spacing between their children with family planning, population growth rates decline.

During the court session, some religious leaders from the Muslim-majority country opposed contraception to reduce poverty and proposed investing in youth instead. 

Many Pakistani children are currently underserved. The Pakistan Medical Association said in a statement that 25 million kids are not going to school and 90% of the population is not provided with clean drinking water. Malnutrition and food scarcity are also concerns.

“It is not possible for a poor man to feed a dozen children and provide education and other facilities. We can only compete in the world when you have mentally and physically healthy people in society,” Minister for Women Development Shehla Raza said.