IN THE NEWS: PAKISTAN – POPULATION CENSUS PUT OFF AGAIN (MARCH 26, 2016)

Written by admin on Saturday, March 26th, 2016

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Population census put off again
SOURCE: The News International
Saturday, March 26, 2016

*PM chairs CCI meeting; says census to be held this year
*Schedule to be announced after consultation with provinces, army
*Flood protection plan also postponed
*Reservations expressed on Kalabagh Dam

ISLAMABAD: The Council of Common Interests (CCI) has decided to further postpone the long overdue population census in the country for an indefinite period after the issue was thoroughly discussed by the council here on Friday.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired the CCI meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office. All the four chief ministers and CCI members attended the meeting. During the CCI meeting, serious reservations were raised on the construction of Kalabagh Dam.

The CCI meeting also took up the matter of flooding situation in the wake of climate change. However, the meeting postponed the flood protection plan and decided to take up the issue at a later stage.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during the meeting said that a population census would be held this year and the schedule in this regard would be announced after consultation with the provinces and the Pakistan Army.
On the issue of population census, secretary Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) informed the meeting that in continuation with the decision taken in the previous CCI meeting held on Feb 29, a series of discussions took place with provincial governments and the armed forces.

Since transparency of census operation is vital for future planning, about 300,000 troops are required to ensure man-to-man coverage as well as to lend credibility and security to census operation.

The meeting was informed that due to engagement of the armed forces in Operation Zarb-e-Azb and actions in Shawal in North Waziristan, the required number of troops could not be spared at this stage.

The official sources told ‘The News’ that the option of having a phased census was also discussed during the meeting. However, the meeting was informed by the PBS that a phased census was not desirable due to inherent flaws and in any case a phased census was not in line with international best practices, particularly keeping in view some specific factors related to Pakistan, which could raise serious contentions on the credibility of the exercise.

It was, therefore, unanimously decided that the census would be postponed and a new date might be finalised in due course in consultation with stakeholders concerned, including provincial governments and armed forces. It was the 29th CCI meeting.

Meanwhile, the national committee on the issue of flood protection plan will finalise the plan on the flood situation in due course.The meeting was attended by Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar, Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Pir Sadruddin Shah Rashidi, Minister for Safron Lt Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch, Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf, Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid, Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Minister forWater and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif, provincial chief ministers Shahbaz Sharif, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Pervaiz Khattak and Sardar Sanaullah Zehri, provincial chief secretaries and other senior government officers.

Officially, no schedule has been announced for the next meeting of the CCI but the sources said it would take place before the next fiscal budget in May where a number of issues would be discussed.

 

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