ASK people around you to identify the three greatest threats facing Pakistan. Ordinary people, chatterbox anchors, mullahs, generals and politicians will name everything from corruption, bad governance and religious terrorism, to Indian and American conspiracies, and general moral decay. But few, if any, waste sleep worrying about the country’s exploding population. Some educated people do have misgivings, but they show concern only when prodded.
Fortunately, the ultra-religious sorts — which this land is abundantly blessed with — are free from useless doubt. For them more is better. Every newborn, say the ultras, comes with a guaranteed rizq (provision) stamped on its forehead. Now let’s assume, ignoring the visible contrary evidence, that this is correct. Yet there shall remain an impossibly difficult problem even if food and water were to drop miraculously from the skies. Fact: Pakistan will eventually run out of physical space. This is what the law of exponential growth says.