Sixth census in Pakistan unlikely to take off

Islamabad [Pakistan]: The long-awaited sixth population and housing census in Pakistan is unlikely to take off, as the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has not been able to come out with a concrete time frame for conducting it.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar convened a meeting to review the PBS preparations for the census on Saturday, reports the Dawn.

The Council of Common Interests (CCI) had decided to postpone the census in March 2016 and since then a number of such meetings have taken place.

The CCI has given the non-availability of army personnel due to rise in tensions along the Line of Control with India as an excuse for postponing the census.

The last census was held 17 years ago.

A senior PBS official said that they are ready to hold the census but supported the decision of the CCI to conduct the census with the support of the army.

He added that it was now up to the CCI to decide and give a roadmap to move forward as the bureau has completed its preparations.

Around 167,000 army personnel are required to go door-to-door for the census exercise. Apart from this an additional 20,30,000 personnel are also estimated by the bureau to supervise the census operation.

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

Expressing satisfaction with the preparations made on the civil side for holding the census, the Finance Minister directed the statistics division to maintain close coordination with the armed forces to ensure security and credibility in the census operation. (ANI)