CCI decides to hold fresh national census

-Approves results of 2017 census
-Decides to complete new census before next election
-Sindh objects to results of previous census

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar held Monday a press conference following the Council of Common Interests (CCI) meeting wherein he said the census results of 2017 have been approved by the council on a condition that another census will not have to wait another decade especially given the controversy the last one entailed.
The planning minister said the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has already told the CCI there’s no way of auditing the 2017 census results so you either scrap it or accept them as is. He said we have thus decided to approve of the results because rejecting them would mean losses for smaller provinces. Today we don’t have to conduct a census using olden ways but we can instead put to use technology as done according to the best practices around the world, the federal minister said in today’s presser.
Since we have many questions raised on the way the 2017 census were carried out, we can have a more inclusive method to hammer out a strategy to conduct our next census with all stakeholders contributing their recommendations to it, he said. Asad Umar added that soon after the approval of off CCI has been achieved, next census exercise can materialize by early 2023 which will have all reservations in the 2017 census addressed. I have lived in Karachi for most of my life and I know the objections raised to the census results are genuine, he admitted.
However, he added that if we scrap the 2017 results, it means we recoil to the 1998 results and consequently, the distribution of resources and wealth would be done to provinces on the basis of stats then. He said it would be quite disadvantageous to all the provinces. In the voting today for census results as moot for CCI huddle today, all federal parties, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab voted in favor of the census results while Sindh voted against it.
Moreover, The Council of Common Interest (CCI) on Monday approved the results of 2017 national population census with majority votes and decided to hold the new census by end of 2021. The meeting of the CCI was held here presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan and was attended by the Chief Ministers of all the provinces. Later giving details of the meeting in a press conference here, Minster for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said the Chief Ministers of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan voted in favor of the approval while the Sindh Chief Minister voted against the approval.
However, he said that keeping in view the reservations showed by some stakeholders including Sindh government over the results of the census, the CCI had decided to start the process of 7th national population census by October this year. “What we had to do was that either to approve or to reject the results, and as the decision of rejection would mean a great loss to the provinces, the CCI has approved with majority vote and decided not to wait for 10 years to hold the next census,” Asad Umar added.
He said the framework for new census would be prepared within six to eight weeks and then the approval for new census would be sought from the CCI. “About four months after the approval, the process of new census would start by end September or start of October this year.” The minister informed that the census was a process that spans over a period of 18 months so it would be completed by start of 2023. “The general election are expected to be held in October 2023 so the next general elections would be held on the basis of new census’ results, he added.