Champion of choice

Dr. Nafis Sadik, a Pakistani obstetrician who as a top United Nations official ensured that women’s rights – not least the right to choose whether to get pregnant – were at the heart of the global population debate, died on Aug.14 at her home in New York. She was 92.

Dr. Sadik made her most lasting mark as the architect and chief promoter of a broad plan to curb population growth around the world, which 179 countries adopted at a UN conference in Cairo in 1994.

“Healthy families are created by choice, not by chance,” Dr. Sadik, who was then the executive director of the UN Population Fund, said after the plan, called the Program for Action, was approved.

She was an “incredible leader” who was “thoughtful but tough in the best sense.”

The above tribute paid by Ed Shanahan in the New York Times recently is an apt reminder to all of us in Pakistan to extol and recognise the services rendered by Dr.Nafis Sadik, who breathed her last on our 75th Independence Day. She should be given the highest civil award posthumously for having done us proud as a Pakistani luminary at the global stage.

Tariq Khosa
Director CGR
26 August 2022.