OUR STAFF REPORTER LAHORE Like other parts of the globe, World Population Day was observed across the country including the City on Monday with the aim to raise awareness about rapid population growth and responsibility of institutions and general public. WPD theme this year is 'World at 7 Billion highlighting importance of family planning in relation with gender equality, poverty, maternal health and human rights. Seminars, conference, discussions, educational information sessions, essay competitions and walks were organised both at the government and private level to mark the event. Several government and private sector organisations have started weeklong programmes to highlight the issue of population explosion and importance of family planning. In Lahore, seminars, workshops, media awareness sessions, walks and mushaira were held to mark the WPD. Lahore Arts Council arranged mazahia mushaira at Al-Hamra Hall to highlight the issue in a lighter tone. Prominent poets including Dr Inamul Haq Javed, Dr Saeed Iqbal Saadi and Atta-ul-Haq Qasmi amused the audience with comic poetry. National Trust for Population Welfare (NATPOW), an autonomous body formed by the federal government, in collaboration with WPD, UNFPA and other partners would arrange media conference on Tuesday (today) to send message of population day to a vast audience through print and electronic media. Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world with the highest population growth rate at 2.03 per cent among the SAARC countries, resulting in annual addition of 3.6 million people. It is projected to reach 210.13 million by the year 2020,and would double in next 34 years. Pakistans population had increased from 32.5 million to 177.1 million, during 1947 to 2011. According to the first census in 1951, the population of the four provinces of the country was recorded at 33.7 million and in 1998 it was 132 million, reflecting a quadruple increase in the size of population during 1951-1998. In 1989, the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme recommended that, in order to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues in the context of overall development plans and programmes and the need to find solutions for these issues, 11 July should be observed by the international community as WPD. The unprecedented decrease in mortality that began to accelerate in the more developed parts of the world in the nineteenth century and expanded to all the world in the twentieth century is one of the major achievements of humanity. By one estimate, life expectancy at birth increased from 30 to 67 years between 1800 and 2005, leading to a rapid growth of the population: from 1 billion in 1810 to nearly 7 billion in 2010.