Govt, PBS differ on holding population census

ISLAMABAD – While the government is going to make the decision for holding population census in phases tomorrow (Monday), the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has ruled out the possibility of conducting it in phases.The government side after getting opposition’s verbal support is seemingly confident to hold census in the country at any cost.But the decision to hold it in phases could technically create difficulty for the government due to stated reasons including new births and death and movement of the people.
“Census will be held at any cost as its preparations have almost been 100 per cent completed,” said Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Pirzada.The opposition’s suggestion-cum-support to hold census in phases, the minister said, has provided a cushion to easily conduct it in the country.When asked about issue for conducting census in phases, Pirzada said the decision will be finalised tomorrow (29th February) in the meeting of Council of Common Interests (CCI).He was confident that the government will be able to convince all the provinces to hold census smoothly in whole the country including Balochsitan.The incumbent government, sources said, has also still not got final nod about sparing enough army personnel for conducting the census.

The government, a couple of days before, has claimed for having its constant contact with the GHQ for holding census.The much-awaited meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) has been called on 29th to deliberate upon the issues of provinces regarding their reservations.The matter of census was also recently included in the agenda due to its importance.As, the census issue was finalised in the previous CCI meeting but could not be materialised.Pirzada has also recently informed on the floor of the house that the important matter of census had also been included in upcoming CCI meeting in order to address the reservations of all the provinces.The minister has also informed that Rs14.5billion has been allocated.

Whereas, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has also ruled out the possibility of conducting population census in different phases due to movement of the people as well as new births and deaths, which could delay the much-awaited census.”Population census could be delayed if required security was not provided and it is not feasible in phases,” said Chief Statistician Asif Bajwa recently informed the Senate Standing Committee on Finance.

As Bajwa said that PBS is continuously negotiating with army to resolve the issue of population census, which is delaying after 1998.
Pakistan is going to conduct the new census after 18 years as last time it was conducted in 1998.The first census in Pakistan was conducted in 1951, second in 1961, and third in 1972.Fourth census was held in March 1981 and fifth, which was due in 1991, was conducted in March 1998.However, no census was conducted in 18 years.

The Council of Common Interests (CCI) in March last year had decided to conduct the fresh census in March 2016.The government as per planning would engage over 207,000 military and civilian personnel for the next population census.

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