Thursday July 25, 2024

With census set to end today, PBS says population count in leftover blocks to continue

By Oonib Azam
April 04, 2023

While the ongoing census is supposed to officially culminate today, April 4, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistic (PBS) has announced that the population count in the leftover blocks will continue in Pakistan, including Karachi.

Many blocks of Central, East and South districts are yet to be enumerated. Residents of Defence Housing Authority (DHA) have been complaining that their houses haven’t been listed yet, let alone the enumeration of their families. Karachi has a total of 15,984 blocks in 37 census districts.

Karachi is a division that has seven administrative districts. However, the PBS has demarcated 37 different census districts comprising sub-divisions, being headed by respective assistant commissioners and six cantonment boards of the city, being headed by their respective CEOs.

Until Monday 3pm, the PBS had listed 2.94 million households in their database. The enumerated households were 2.42 million, while the enumerated population was 12.33 million. With the given data the experts are already estimating Karachi’s population to be around 17.5 million.

A resident of DHA Phase VIII, Sheharyar Ali, told The News that no PBS team had reached his home yet. “No PBS team has even reached my relatives and friends living in DHA Phase V and Phase VI,” he said, adding that their houses had not been listed yet.

Another resident of DHA Phase VI, Wajeeha, told The News how an enumerator left a paper form with their security guard while no one was at home. “No one ever came back to even pick the form. I lodged a complaint with the PBS, but not action has been taken so far,” she said.

An officer of the PBS told The News more than 82 per cent of the city had been enumerated at around 3pm on Monday. The figure keeps increasing by the minute as the data keeps syncing into their system.

For the census, the process of self-enumeration kicked off on February 20 and was supposed to last until March 3. However, at the request of the Sindh government, the date was extended until March 10.

The PBS started door-to-door enumeration of buildings throughout the country from March 1 till March 10. There was a break on March 11 and on March 12, and then the population count kicked off, which was to end on April 4. The homeless population was to be counted on the night of April 4.

A PBS official for the Gulshan subdivision in the District East, Masood Ali Khan, told The News that in Gulshan 70 per cent of the enumeration had been completed. He said that they had been told to complete the enumeration in the leftover blocks by April 10 and until April 14, they had time to sync their data with the PBS and verify it.

Another PBS official for the Civil Lines subdivision in the District South, Muhammad Javed, told The News that his designated area had been enumerated; however, the Clifton Cantonment Board area, which is a separate census district, was remaining. He said the homeless population count kicked off in the Civil Lines on Monday after 8pm.

Since many blocks are remaining to be counted, an official of the PBS in Karachi, Zubair Ahmed, told The News that the homeless population count would kick off in those blocks where enumeration had already been completed. As for the remaining blocks, he said, the homeless population will be counted once the household enumeration is done.

In a span of two to three days, he said, the entire city’s household enumeration would be completed. Speaking on the post-enumeration survey, which is also known as Quality Assurance Survey, he said, it was being done side by side in those blocks where enumeration was getting done.

On the post-enumeration survey, the Gulshan subdivision official explained that teams formed by the federal government randomly visit houses in different blocks and see how the data has been compiled by the enumerators, what questions were asked, whether a police official accompanied the enumerator or not, if the enumerator had a tablet or not and how the different households responded to the enumerator. The team then submits its report to the PBS.

As for the complaints of not being counted or the distribution of papers, Ahmed asked citizens to lodge a complaint at their number 021-99225229 and action would be taken within 24 hours. He stressed that their teams would count each and every individual.

Meanwhile, a PBS official on the condition of anonymity told The News that his office received around 100 written complaints from the Korangi deputy commissioner office, most of which were fake.

“The handwriting of most of the written complaints were the same and when we contacted the households mentioned on those complaint letters, they said they never lodged any complaint,” the official said, lamenting that such fake complaints consumed their time and energy unnecessarily and hindered the census operations.