ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar Monday said the Council of Common Interests (CCI) had by majority approved the release of population census results of 2017 with Sindh the only province opposing the move.
The government also decided to hold the next census in October this year by adopting the latest technology in order to avert the mistakes committed in the last census. The census results would be made available by 2023.
After attending the CCI meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Asad Umar told reporters here that there were only two options: to accept the results of 2017 population census or to reject them in totality.
He said if the census results had been rejected, then the situation might have landed the country back into 1998 situation. He said the census results had impacted politically, as the National Assembly seats for Punjab got reduced while the seats of other provinces increased.
Asad said resource distribution through the NFC was also done on the basis of population census so the government approved the release of last census results. He said the government would hold the next population census without waiting for 10 years and it would be started in October this year.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Planning and Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the prime minister chaired a meeting of the CCI on 12th April. The meeting was attended by all the chief ministers and federal ministers.
The 6th Population & Housing Census 2017 was conducted from 15th March 2017 to 24th May 2017 and the provisional results at block level were approved by the CCI on 13.11.2017. Keeping in view the sensitivity of the census results, the federal cabinet decided to constitute a Ministers Committee on 11.02.2020 for detailed deliberations on the matter with stakeholders and for recommendations regarding finalization of results of Census-2017.
The committee conducted six meetings and after extensive considerations submitted its report with recommendations for approval of results of Census-2017 in a larger national interest and to the conduct next census earlier possible by adopting modern technologies.
The cabinet in its meeting held on 22.12.2020 approved the Committee recommendations and forwarded them to the CCI for final consideration being the competent forum. The CCI in its meeting held on 12.04.2021 deliberated on the subject and approved the final results of Census-2017. According to the final results of Census-2017, the population of Pakistan is 207.68 million (with -0.043% difference with provisional results) with population growth rate of 2.40% from 1998 to 2017 with 106.3 million males and 101.3 million females.
Punjab has the highest share of population 52.96 % in 2017 followed by Sindh with 23.04%, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 14.69%, Balochistan 5.94% and FATA & Islamabad with 2.40% and 0.96% respectively.
The highest population density per square KM is in Islamabad with 2211 person per square KM and lowest in Balochistan 35.53 persons. The highest sex ratio is 110.68 in Islamabad and lowest in KP with 102.4.
Majority of the population is in the age 15 to 64 years with 53.40% and 40.31% population in age group less than 15 years. 63.56% population is living in rural areas and 36.44% in urban areas according to Census-2017.
According to a news channels, Asad Umar said 2017 Census had left many question marks. “Questions being raised on this issue does not bode well for national unity; there should be a consensus on the issue of census,” he added.
A technical team was formed under the deputy director planning which included government officials, statisticians and experts on the census, he said. “Within the next six to eight weeks, the framework for the next census will be ready,” the minister said.
One of the best practices that will be adopted is the use of technology; what was previously done manually will be digitalized and UN principles [for census] will be adopted. “After that, we will go to the CCI for approval of the new framework, and four months after the approval, the work on the census can be started,” he said.
If you calculate all of this, the new survey will hopefully start by the end of September or start of October this year, the minister said. “And this 18-month process will then be completed in the first six months of 2023. I think elections are due in Oct/Nov 2023, so there will be time for delimitations on the basis of a new census,” Umar said.
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