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SC orders PBS to provide unambiguous date for census

The Supreme Court on Friday during suo motu proceedings on delays in holding a population census rejected the government’s reasons behind a ‘conditional’ delay in the census.

The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) in a report presented before a three-judge bench of the apex court earlier this month said a summary sent to the Council of Common Interests proposed the census be held in March/April 2017 on traditional method subject to availability of the armed forces.

The court rejected the conditions placed on the holding of the census, saying that the government’s report was ‘just for show’, and called for a clear and unambiguous report on the matter.

Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali in his remarks said the army is only called into action during a state of emergency. “If it is the army’s job to do everything, then what is the need for these institutions?” he asked, referring to government institutions. “The government should just say that conducting a census is not its job.”

The CJP observed that the status quo appears to suit political parties who believe that, once a census is conducted, the number of seats in the assembly will have to be increased.

“If we [the court] can’t provide justice then what is the need for this institution?” he asked. “The government should say there is no need for a court.”

The CJP said that if the court’s decisions will not be adhered to, it should be shut down.

The court ordered the PBS to provide a clear and unambiguous date for the census.

The PBS earlier stated that it had held meetings with the Directorate of Military Operations to share manpower requirements for the census operation, where it was realised that 288,000 armed forces personnel with civilian enumerators will be needed for man-to-man deployment, including a security and command structure.

The directorate earlier agreed that the census could be conducted in phases, which would minimise the manpower requirements, and had indicated that it will provide 42,000 army personnel for the census operation.

Courtesy : Express Tribune



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