ISLAMABAD - Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar has said that it is time to investment in education of our children to meet future challenges.

Addressing the concluding session of 14th Annual Research Conference of Population Association of Pakistan (PAP), as chief guest here she said, “Until or unless we will not educate our people, we cannot achieve any goal”.

The conference “Pakistan’s Population: New Realities and Challenges for Human Development”, was organised by the PAP in conjunction with National University of Science and Technology (NUST).

She said government as per its commitment in its party manifesto is in the process of developing a plan for the rapid development of human resources and providing meaningful employment to a growing young, educated segment of the population.

The minister said they are going to establish the Population Commission at national level to coordinate with provincial governments and asked all the stakeholders to give their recommendation for taking steps to check rapid population growth in the country.

She further said the conference recommendations give out a clarion call for action, adding that our government is cognizant of the enormity of the challenge posed by our rapidly growing population.

“We are fully committed to tackling this issue, as it is central to all endeavors that will make Pakistan a stable, prosperous and developed nation”.

Saira Afzal Tarar said our vision of human development and peoples’ welfare takes guidance from the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH).

Nowhere else do they find such a tremendous emphasis on the rights of the women as an individual, as a mother, daughter and wife as that outlined in Islamic teachings, she stated.

She further said that soon Pakistan will attain its rightful place in the comity of nations as a vibrant democracy with a growing economy and home to a healthy and prosperous population.

Addressing the ceremony Dean and Principal of NUST Dr. Ashfaq Hassan Khan said the pool of unemployed has been rising due to rapidly growing population in the country.

Our Country cannot afford more unemployment, he said adding, “We are talking about Demographic Dividend but this is demographic disaster which we are we facing”.

Shahnaz Wazir Ali, President Population Association of Pakistan said evidence and data is available but now there is need to move these statistics to the tables of the policy makers.

She said they need to reap the demographic dividend and Pakistan is mid-way through its demographic transition, as more and more young people enter the workforce.

The young population can translate into a demographic dividend for Pakistan, she said adding but, if this youth would not be educated and remain unemployable it would produce adverse affects on economy.

“If fertility rates are not significantly reduced, the nation’s existing problems will multiply with serious implications for the economy, stability, peace, and internal cohesion”, she commented.

At the end two research publications, written by Dr. Zeba A. Sathar, Country Director Population Council were also presented to the Minister.

The Students from difference universities, government officials, civil society representatives and media persons attended the conference.