Environment

Pakistan's Ticking Time Bomb

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorApr 30, 2009 8:29 PM

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Looks like we got ourselves a long-term situation in Pakistan. As Tod Preston points out,

among the many challenges confronting the nation"”including a growing Taliban insurgency"”one significant problem remains largely undiscussed: its rapidly expanding population.

In his post at The New Security Beat, Preston notes that

Pakistan's population nearly quadrupled from 50 million in 1960 to 180 million today. It's expected to add another 66 million people"”nearly the entire population of Iran"”in the next 15 years.

What do these numbers add up to? Well, because "public schools have become increasingly overcrowded," Preston writes, "more parents have turned to madrasas in an attempt to educate their children--or at least their sons. It's no secret that some of Pakistan's madrases have ties to radical religious and terrorist-affiliated organizations." What does this portend? Preston paints the obvious picture:

It seems likely that enrollments in madrasas will swell, and more children will face a future with no schooling whatsoever. Clearly, this is not a recipe for a more peaceful and stable Pakistan.

Clearly, national security experts should be talking more about family planning.

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