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Conducting census is peace time exercise, SC told

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July 15, 2016

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Govt says census will be held with availability of army troops; two-member bench to hold hearing today

ISLAMABAD: The federal government told the Supreme Court on Thursday that conducting census from Khunjerab to Karachi was a big exercise of peace time and the holding of census in March 2016 was postponed due to unavailability of troops and human force.

The apex court was told that after receiving information about the country’s situation provided by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the Council of Common Interests (CCI) had decided to postpone the census of March 2016 due to unavailability of 1,67,000 troops as they’re busy in operation Zarb-e-Azb.

It was told that over 2,00,000 force, including 1,67,000 troops, were needed to accomplish the task.

According to the CCI’s decision, the census would be carried out with the availability of armed forces personnel for ensuring a fair and transparent census. According to the Defence Ministry officials the personnel of Pakistan Army would be available after improvement in the security situation of the country.  It said for conducting census one worker of census needed one army personnel and the exercise would cost Rs14 billion and funds were fixed in this regard.

It is to be mentioned that the Chief Justice of Pakistan Anwar Zaheer Jamali had taken suo moto notice of not conducting census despite passage of eight years and sought a reply from the Attorney General for Pakistan and Secretary Statistics in this regard. 

The two-member bench, comprising Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh, will hear the case today (Friday). The Statistical Department submitted a reply to the Supreme Court in which details of the steps regarding census were provided.  It is said that holding of census is not a problem but the real issue is to conduct it in a fair and transparent manner.

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