It is estimated that 7 per cent of the total population of Pakistan is over 60 with a figure of 11.6 million and this figure will rise to 43.3 million by 2050, which will be around 16 per cent of the total population.
October 1 has been declared as International Day of Older People by United Nations in 1990. Since then world has been celebrating this day to highlight contributions older people make to the society and to raise awareness on issues affecting their lives. As they have the right to live a healthy and dignified life, therefore, barriers should be removed and they should be given an opportunity to live a happy and age friendly life.</ br>
According to data shared by Help Age International, a non-governmental organisation that works for elderly people, two people celebrate their 60th birthday around the globe every second, 1 in 9 persons in the world is aged 60 years or above. This will be increased to 1 in 5 by 2050. There will be more old people than children under the age of 15 years by 2050.Population ageing is a global issue now and world is experiencing a demographic transition. This is happening faster in Asia and especially in South Asia. Pakistan is sixth most populous country in the world.
There are only 15 countries in the world where population of people of 60 years and above is more than 10 million and Pakistan is one of those 15 countries.
Older People being a vulnerable group have been and still facing number of problems and issues as the ratio of difficulties is high in under developing countries like Pakistan. Their vulnerability becomes double and triples in a disaster or emergency situation and they have often been overlooked in humanitarian and development work. Moreover they are being challenged by discrimination, health, poverty and social protection issues. Despite the fact older people are still contributing a lot in the society. There is an utmost need to protect older people’s rights and make an age friendly world. </ br>
Different countries around the world are developing legislation for protection of rights of older people. Unfortunately there is no policy or law specifically for older people at national level.A national level policy was drafted and finalized by Ministry of Capital Administration & Development but it is pending for months now to be presented in the Parliament for approval.Well the positive aspect is that provincial governments have started the legislation process for their respective provinces. And the older people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are fortunate enough, as the first ever legislation for protection of rights of older people in the country was passed by the KP government last year in November. </ br>
KP is now the only province where there is an approved law for protection of rights of older people, this is called “Senior Citizen Act KP 2014”. Now the government needs to implement this law in its full spirit, as the law includes provisions of age friendly services. Moreover as per the law a senior citizen welfare council will be formed under Ministry of Social Welfare, and this council will work for protection of rights of older people and make sure of age friendly services and their welfare.
The Punjab government has also initiated to develop laws to protect older people rights . In Sindh the bill has been presented in the Sindh Parliament last year but it is still awaited for approval.