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FAMILY PLANNING ASSOCIATION OF PAKISTAN (FPA)

FAMILY PLANNING ASSOCIATION OF PAKISTAN (FPA) The Family Planning Association of Pakistan was founded in 1956 by a group of women who had begun to appreciate the importance of motivating couples to have smaller families and of providing them with information on modern family-planning practices The Association received a major boost for its activities when it persuaded President Muhammad Ayub Khan to attend a seminar on population in 1959 in Lahore As the head of the armed forces and the chief martial-law administrator, Ayub had the political power to make things happen The seminar was addressed by a number of world-recognized authorities who spoke of the danger Pakistan faced if its leaders did not succeed in motivating people to opt for smaller sized families The participants argued for an active role by the government in not only communicating this message to the people but also in providing family-planning services Muhammad Ayub Khan left the seminar fully persuaded that he had to incorporate family planning as an important element in his economic strategy and social modernization of the country The main result of Muhammad Ayub Khan’s conversion was the adoption of an ambitious plan of action aimed at bringing about a significant decline in the rate of fertility While the government-sponsored Family Planning Program held center stage, the FPA concentrated its efforts on education and dissemination of information Its activities remained modest in scope and reach for as long as the government was willing to provide active support to family-planning activities With the advent of the Zia ul-Haq era (1977-1988), however, the government effectively withdrew from family-planning activities, leaving the field to such non-governmental organizations as the Family Planning Association



The Association took up the challenge It invited Atiya Inyatullah, a well-known social worker and formerly a minister in one of the cabinets of President Zia ulHaq, to become its president Under her leadership, the Association expanded its operations in the early 1990s and began to concentrate its activities on a number of socioeconomic groups One novel feature of this approach was to convince the army jawans (enlisted men) not only to adopt family planning themselves but also to spread the word in the communities from which they were recruited that Pakistan was faced with a serious demographic crisis The Association’s affiliation with the powerful Planned Parenthood Federation brought its activities to the notice of non-governmental organizations outside Pakistan, and helped Inyatullah to continue to put pressure on the government for providing some resources for family planning She was also able to attract foreign funding, albeit in modest amounts, from the donor community

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