ISLAMABAD: Overseas Pakistanis will not be counted in the upcoming population and housing census, scheduled for March 15, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) announced on Wednesday.
“Only those expatriates who left the country less than six months ago will be counted,” Chief Statistician Asif Bajwa told reporters after releasing data on inflation at the Statistics House.
Under the new rule, approximately seven million Pakistanis, mostly labourers from Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir working in the Middle East, will not be counted as part of the country’s population.
Bureau of Statistics says foreigners will be registered
Mr Bajwa said that Pakistanis who had been abroad for more than six months would not be counted as part of Pakistan’s population — this included students studying in foreign universities as well.
The first phase of the census will start on March 15 and end on April 15, while the second phase will commence on April 25 and end on May 25. The census reports will be completed in two months.
Several political parties in Balochistan have opposed the census and urged the government to first ensure complete repatriation of Afghan refugees.
Mr Bajwa said the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) had blocked as many as 100,000 fake ID cards belonging to Afghans. However, he added, the census would cover all those living in the country irrespective of their ethnicity or nationality. Foreign nationals would also be registered.
In the census reports, however, only those Afghans who have valid Pakistani ID cards will be counted while the rest will be left out. The PBS will use Nadra’s database to check fake ID cards.
On the matter of internal migration, he said people who had migrated from one province to another and stayed there for more than six months would be counted as part of the population of the host province.
According to the approved plan, the census will be taken first in Balochistan, and be divided into two phases for Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Fata, AJK and Gilgit Baltistan will be covered in the second phase.
The divisions to be covered in the first phase are: Mardan and Peshawar (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Lahore, Faisalabad, Dera Ghazi Khan and Sargodha (Punjab), Karachi, Hyderabad and Mirurkhas (Sindh) and Quetta, Zhob, Sibi, Naseerabad, Kalat and Markan (Balochistan).
The census for Islamabad Capital Territory will also be conducted in the first phase.
The divisions to be covered in the second phase are: Hazara, Malakand, Kohat, Bannu and DI Khan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Bahwalpur, Multan and Sahiwal (Punjab), and Larkana, Sukkur and SB (Shaheed Benazir) Abad (Sindh). The second phase of the census will include the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) and GB, respectively.
Mr Bajwa said the army had promised to provide 45,000 personnel for the first phase and as many as 45,000 personnel from the civil administration would also be involved.
The first census in the country was conducted in 1951, the second in 1961, the third in 1972, instead of 1971 due to political turmoil, and the fourth in 1981. The fifth census, which was due in 1991, was held in March 1998 with the help of the army. Under the Constitution, the government is bound to conduct population census every 10 years.
It is considered one of the basic requirements for judicious distribution of resources, calculating representation in parliament, electoral processes, tax collection and other civic issues, including growing urbanisation and evaluation of resources for infrastructure development.
courtesy : dawn news