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'Indo-Pak tensions holding up Pakistan's 1st census in 17 yrs'

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

Non-availability of army personnel due to Indo-Pak tensions has forced authorities to indefinitely postpone Pakistan's census, the first in 17 years, according to a media report today.

The Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has not been able to come up with a concrete time frame for conducting the long- awaited sixth population and housing in the country, Dawn reported.


A meeting was convened by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to review PBS preparations for the yesterday.

Several such meetings have been held since the Council of Common Interests (CCI) decided to postpone the in March 2016.

But given the non-availability of army personnel due to escalating tensions along the Line of Control with India, it looks like the will remain in limbo until the CCI revises its decision, the report said.

The last was held in 17 years ago.

"We are ready to hold the census," a senior PBS official said, but maintained that the decision to conduct with support from the army was taken in the CCI meeting held in March 2016.

The bureau has completed its preparations, he said, adding that it was now up to the CCI to decide and give the bureau a roadmap moving forward.

Following the decision to involve the army in the exercise, the PBS estimated it would need around 167,000 army personnel to go door-to-door. In addition, the bureau estimated it would need an additional 20-30,000 personnel to supervise the operation.

A PBS official said that the army had estimated the total manpower for the at around 300,000, but given the prevailing conditions on the LoC, it would be next to impossible to spare such a large chunk of human resource from the armed forces.

Asked about the fate of the census, the official said it was up to the CCI to decide whether to go ahead without the army or not. But he was of the opinion that the involvement of army personnel would make the results more acceptable and transparent.

However, the government would decide the mode of the census, the official said.

An official statement issued after the meeting said PBS Chief Statistician Asif Bajwa gave an overview of the preparations, apprising the meeting that the necessary preparations on the civilian side had been completed.

The first in was conducted in 1951, the second in 1961 and the third in 1972 instead of 1971, due to political turmoil. The fourth was held in March 1981 and the fifth, which was due in 1991, was conducted in March 1998 with the help of the army.

Under the Constitution, the government is bound to conduct the population every 10 years.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, November 27 2016. 17:22 IST
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