The conference, organised by the Law and Justice Commission, was presided over by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Mian Saqib Nisar with Prime Minister Imran Khan as the chief guest. All four provincial chief ministers attended the day-long symposium.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar both addressed the conference.
PM Imran Prime Minister Imran Khan
Previous govts didn’t think beyond five years: PM Imran Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Pakistan is currently in this situation because the previous governments did not think beyond their five-year tenure.
According to the prime minister, the CJP had taken steps which democratic governments should have done. “You asked why democratic government had not thought of water. They were not thinking beyond five years. We are facing these problems due to short term thinking.”
Speaking on the issue of population, the prime minister said he was an environmentalist form the start. “I remember when I was young there would be a temperature difference from one area of Lahore to another. There were green areas in the city. People would drink water from their tap, Ravi used to be a nice river and now it is a garbage dump. The city is all concrete now.”
The prime minister said he wanted to break the walls of the Governor House Punjab so people could see the gardens.
He added that children needed to be educated about family planning and the environment in school. “Pakistan is number seven on the list of nations which will be most affected by climate change.”
The rate at which population is growing and cities are spreading is having a devastating impact on our environment, said the prime minister.
He thanked the CJP for raising this issue and was grateful to see that all chief ministers were on-board.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar
Addressing the symposium, Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar said that an alarming rise in population needs utmost attention.
The CJP said no attention had been paid to population control in the country in the last 60 years.
The chief justice called on the prime minister and president to investigate why nothing had been done for the construction of dams in the last 40 years.
“Our water is decreasing but mouths are increasing,” CJP said.
The top judge said that water is the elixir of life and there exists no water management in the country.
“Our resources are depleting rapidly,” CJP Nisar said and it is time that new legislation is introduced.
The top judge stressed the importance of education saying this was imperative to a nation’s growth. “The faculty of thinking is the most important. Those nations who sought education have progressed and those who didn’t haven’t.”
According to the chief justice, there were plans already made by other nations for population control and all Pakistan had to do was implement them and create awareness through the media.
“After 30 years if the population keeps going at this rate it will be 450 million.”
Religious scholar Maulana Tariq Jameel
Addressing the conference, religious scholar Maulana Tariq Jameel said, “The creation of human beings is the world’s greatest project.” The religious scholar noted that “illiteracy and poverty are major reasons for the increase in population growth” and stressed on the importance of education.
“Although the symposium is being held in Islamabad, the problem is more prevalent in rural areas,” Maulana Jameel asserted.