Taking a cue from Bangladesh, Pakistan has decided to distribute contraceptives at mosques and also involve clerics in spreading family planning awareness.
Pakistan Population Planning Minister Chaudhry Shahbaz Hussain said that currently Pakistan’s birth rate was 1.86 percent, which his ministry wanted to bring down to 1.3 percent by 2020.
Announcing the decision here last evening, Hussain and said that contraceptives of different kinds, medicines and literature, would be made available in mosques.
According to him, around 22,000 clerics, including 6,000 women scholars, were being appointed to raise awareness about family planning, reported the Daily Times.
He further said that a summary had been sent to Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to grant honoraria to these clerics.
The minister said that like Bangladesh, clerics would inform the people about the significance of family planning in their sermons.
In Bangladesh packets of contraceptives were placed in mosques and the ministry was also planning to start the programme at the time of Isha prayer.
According to the minister, currently there was "a gulf between the ministry and the common man", and that his ministry had set targets to bridge this gap.
The ministry held an ulema convention that issued a joint communiqué, he said and added that a conference of women religious scholars would be held in the 2007. He said the population control target set for 2020 could be achieved in 2010.
Hussain said that the main reason for the ministry’s failure to contain population was that it had no social security service and in old age, parents were dependent upon their children. He said this was the reason for large families. "We have to tell people that they can rely on two well-educated children," he added.
He also said that MoUs have been signed with public sector organisations to implement population welfare programmes. "We will not include population welfare programmes in educational syllabi, but we are trying to give the students an idea about family planning" he said, adding that lectures had been arranged in various universities in this regard.