ISLAMABAD: The government has ruled out conduct census by imposing curfew. There will be census by December 2022, through legal procedure in which computer tablets will also be used.
The government has decided to legally conduct the census in December 2022, rejecting the possibility of the next census by imposing a curfew based on facts, in which everyone should be counted on the basis of housing in the last six months.
Reliable sources said that assistance will also be sought from the Army and two and a half lakh Armed Forces personnel across Pakistan will take part in the census process to provide full security.
The army will have no role in filling up the questionnaire forms in computer tablets but will only perform security duties.
Top officials said the government has so far estimated the process at a cost of Rs 23 to Rs. 25 billion as the census will be conducted on computer tablets for the first time in the country’s history.
The census will be held on a “de-jour” basis, He said that in the next census, every person will be counted where he has lived in the last six months and will remain there for the next six months, with the exception of a few things, such as illness, Hajj, staying abroad for a period of one month for Umrah, pilgrimage or employment etc.
The government estimates that 100,000 tablets and 600,000 people from education, health and local government departments will be engaged in the census, reports said.
In consultation with the country’s leading demographers, the government has prepared a questionnaire based on 23 to 26 questions. The number of statistical blocks has also been increased from 168,000 to 180,000.
Sources said the ministry would send a summary to the Council of Common Interests (CCI), which will meet in the next few weeks, where it is likely to be approved.
The federal cabinet has also hinted that the next census should be conducted in a legal manner instead of on the basis on ground realities, as that type of census would require 1.1 million armed forces to impose a nationwide curfew.
After the approval of the census by the CCI, the government will notify the Chief Statistical Commissioner and the provinces will also notify the Provincial Statistical Commissioners.
Sources said that a pilot project of census covering 4 to 5 per cent of the four provinces and Islamabad is likely to be launched to check the authenticity of the questionnaire regarding the next census.
While this big target is to be completed by December 2022 as the Election Commission of Pakistan will need six months to hold the next general elections, which are to be held in August, 2023 or so.
But if the general election is held in the first few months of 2023, it will be based on the 2017 census.