Population: male-female ratio

THIS is with reference to the letter ‘Population bomb and social maladies’ by Abaidur Rehman (Dec 13). According to the writer, one reason for over-population is ‘gender preference in favour of a male child.’
This is not always so. I have worked with Baloch and Pashtuns for many years and have observed that a female child is also valued in these two communities, principally because the male-female ratio has increased over the years.
In such groups, when the girl is ready for marriage, she is given away in marriage to the highest dowry bidder. Many of my workers have had to go and work in the Middle East for two or three years to earn the dowry demanded by their future fathers-in-law.
And contrary to popular belief, the male-female ratio in the country is 100:90 (meaning that for 100 Pakistani men, there are only 90 women). In the years to come, this will prove to be a major social problem.

Published in DAWN, December 26, 2011