Pakistan today has a population of approximately 208 million people. We are the sixth most populous country of the world and soon we will become the fifth most populous with a 2.4 percent growth rate as Census 2017 results shows. Unchecked population growth in Pakistan is among one of the serious challenges which the country faces today. Arguably, this rapid rise in population poses the biggest threat to the state’s plans to achieve self-sufficiency according to various human development indicators. While the current population census was conducted after an elongated gap, the country’s ruling elite has never used the census results beyond how it can or cannot help them in politicking, power grabs, undermining smaller provinces’ rights, and the redrawing of constituencies to ensure that the established political power sharing structure remains intact. Pakistan’s largest cities, Karachi and Lahore, are densely populated. The young population from all across Pakistan is shifting to major urban centres, as these urban areas are the only places where dwindling employment opportunities exist. According to some reports, urbanization in Pakistan is growing at an annual rate of 3 percent which is the fastest pace in South Asia. The United Nations Population Division estimates that “by 2025 nearly half the country’s population will live in urban areas.” The Vision 2025 is the most relevant national policy framework to incorporate the required policies for availing the demographic dividend into the national development agenda. By declaring “Putting People First” the first of seven key pillars, Vision 2025 integrates the goal of human development with the national strategy for transformational economic growth. Recognising investment in human and social capital as a prerequisite for all other development, the government has promised a “very significant increase” in resource allocation, and “quantum improvement” in the quality of interventions in the spheres of education, health, population, gender equality and women’s empowerment, and youth, among others. It is imperative we don’t lose more time and resume the momentum of fertility decline achieved in the 90’s, when fertility transition first began The provinces set their own revised goals to align with the Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) commitment. The new CPR goals for 2020 are 55 percent in Punjab, 45 percent in Sindh, 42 percent in KP, and 32 percent in Balochistan. These new goals have now set the stage for accelerated family planning programming in Pakistan’s provinces. The goals are being integrated into both the provincial health and population welfare programs. In addition, provincial budgets are now reflecting greater commitment to prioritising population issues by including the costs of contraceptive commodities (hitherto provided by donors) and other additional programmatic expenses such as communications in their respective 2014 and 2015 budgets. The availability of family planning methods can be enhanced if it is made available through the outlets of the all health systems especially through the network of community workers. Evidence from regional countries has shown that all categories of health providers including NGO outreach workers could be effectively trained to provide family planning methods and emergency contraception pills. This will reduce the rate of unwanted pregnancies and induced abortions and increase contraceptive choices. In the case of Pakistan, from a policy perspective, it is important to integrate economic policy with population and re-distributive policies. It is also important to conduct a technology audit of economy. Labour intensive manufacturing and services should be encouraged to the maximum possible extent as long as competitiveness and efficiency are not compromised. A careful balance between technology and human resources is important. Pakistan presently spends 2.2 per cent of the GDP on educating the population. Consistent low-levels of education spending has created a semi-skilled population which in this age of high technology is doomed to become surplus. National education spending needs to be increased to 4 to 5 per cent of the GDP at the earliest. Within the present fiscal space, this will be an arduous task but it remains the only option to turn the population into an asset rather than liability. The Chinese example is enough to understand how social sector investment can turn a population of more than 1.25 billion into an economic locomotive. It is imperative that further time should not be lost and the momentum of declined fertility rates achieved in the 90’s when fertility transition first began resumes… With limited resources, we should set our priorities and ensure that funds are used for things that work such as the Lady Health Worker program. , In order for Pakistan to achieve its FP2020 objectives, sustained, bold and unequivocal leadership and commitment at all levels of government is needed. Motherhood is considered a blessing for women, but if the woman dies during pregnancy there is no blessing to celebrate. Pakistan has tremendous opportunity to regain its earlier momentum and achieve both immediate and long-term objectives related to family planning. It is evident that until and unless population growth is given its due attention, the country will continue to fall short in meeting the needs of its citizens. The writer is a freelance journalist associated with the development sector. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org twitter: @mqesar Published in Daily Times, September 8th 2017.