Wednesday May 22, 2024

Govt urged to ensure proper preparation before census

By Our Correspondent
May 08, 2022

LAHORE : The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has expressed its concern over the lack of preparedness of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics for national population census, scheduled for August 2022.

CSJ, through a communication to Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Minister of Finance Miftah Ismail urged them to take a serious look at the preparation regarding population census at the meeting of Council of Common Interest (CCI).

The communication highlighted that a credible outcome of the national population census will depend on the trust built through participatory transparency, sound technical planning, dissemination, and training of hundreds of thousands of enumerators to be involved.

A statement issued by Wajahat Masood, Chairperson CSJ and Peter Jacob, Executive Director said, “CSJ is of the opinion that the preparations at the moment are not sufficient and adequate”. “A proper time for preparation should be allowed so that a credible data is generated and public trust is cultivated on the process as well as the outcome of national population census”.

“Government should proactively engage with civil society, international observers and media and transparency should be shown with regards to technical and procedural aspects of this important activity.”

CSJ urged the chief statistician of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics to update media and civil society on regular basis, shun the culture of secrecy, with regards to preparedness, use of digital devices and status of training of enumerators.

“Since the last two censuses have shown a considerable loss of religious diversity in Pakistan (0.21% in 19 years), the complaints of religious minorities should be addressed so that an accurate, credible and dependable data comes out at the end,” the statement further said.

According to the 2017 census data, the minorities were 7.3 million in Pakistan, which include Christians (2.6m), Hindus (3.6m), scheduled castes (0.85m), and others (0.23m). However, the overall population of minorities had declined by 0.21% in 19 years (between 1998 and 2017). The census results showed astonishing trends.

While the Christian population showed to have grown by 25.71%, the Hindu population grew by 70.62%, and the population of scheduled castes increased exponentially by 157.58% between 1998 and 2017. In contrast, the Ahmadi population decreased by 35.71%, and people falling into the category of “other religions” drastically declined by 60%.

Peter Jacob, the Executive Director CSJ said that the mistrust in the last population census 2017 expressed by the political parties and marginalised groups could only be addressed by proper preparations and participatory accountability.