Pakistan is a region where ‘Vikas’ is extinct. The country has the highest birth rate in South Asia at around three children per woman, according to the World Bank. Pakistan carried out a census this year, almost 19 years later after 1998. Gulzar Khan is a Pakistani who has 36 children from 3 wives. Three Pakistani men are taking the population graph high, and they’ve taken it rather too seriously.
These 3 men are not bothered about maintaining their large families, as they believe “Allah will provide.” Gulzar Khan, the father of 36 children asks “God has created the entire universe and all human beings, so why should I stop the natural process of baby’s birth?”
He cites one of the strongest influences in the region: the belief that Islam prevents family planning. Tribal enmity is another factor in the northwest, where the 57-year-old lives in the city of Bannu with his 3rd wife, who is pregnant. Khan surprisingly gives the ‘cricket-match’ excuse where he says that his children don’t need friends when they’re playing a game of cricket.
The practice of polygamy is legal in Pakistan. The last census held in Pakistan in 1998 showed the population at 135 million. 19 years later the country is close to the 200 million mark. The numbers don’t seem to be backing the trend of the ever increasing population in the state. Pakistan is a country where the youth unemployment rate is very high, and close to 60 million people live below the poverty line.
All in the family
Khan’s brother Mastan Khan Wazir also has three wives. Mastar Khan Wazir is one among Gulzar Khan’s 15 siblings. Wazir has so far fathered 22 children, and he says that he has lost a count on his grandchildren. “God has promised that he will provide food and resources but people have weak faith,” he tells AFP, wearing a traditional Wazirastani turban.
As if that were not enough
In the southwestern city of Quetta in Balochistan province, Jan Mohammed has fathered 38 children. He has the same outlook. Jan spoke to AFP in 2016 and spoke about his desire of having 100 children. No woman has agreed, but Jan hasn’t given up yet. He’s looking for his fourth wife.
“The more Muslims grow, the more their enemies will fear them…. Muslims should go for more and more children,” he said.
Women in Pakistan ‘don’t’ have an opinion
None of the three men’s wives are allowed to give their opinions on what they think about family planning. “Giving women more of a choice in the matter could help,” argues Aisha Sarwari, a feminist activist who has previously written on population and women’s rights.
“Access to birth control for women can be a game changer,” she told AFP. “Ultimately the impact is that there are more resources to go around…. Empowered women have fewer children, and this creates a mindset that leads to prosperity within families that is likely to be emulated across communities.”
What do the 3 men think
Gulzar Khan at least knows the benefit of slowing down. But he believes that slowing down would give him more time for leisure activities. He says “If one had fewer children, one would have more free time to make love with his wives.”
You make love, your countrymen make terrorists, who will succeed, ultimately?
Credit: Hindustan Times