ISLAMABAD: The Council of Common Interest (CCI) has unanimously decided to postpone the long overdue population census due to unavailability of troops which is essential to ensure man-to-man coverage as well as to lend credibility and security to the census operation.
The decision was taken in a meeting of the council held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the PM House in Islamabad on Friday.
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The members of the council suggested that a new date for conducting a fresh population census will be finalised in due course in consultation with provincial governments and armed forces.
During the course of the meeting, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) secretary informed the participants that in continuation of decision taken in previous CCI meeting held on February 29, 2016 a series of meetings were held with provincial governments and armed forces.
“Since transparency of census operation was vital for future planning, about 300,000 troops are required to ensure man-to-man coverage as well as to lend credibility and security to census operation,” the PBS secretary maintained.
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However, the council was informed that due to engagement of the armed forces in Shawal and Operation Zarb-e-Azb the required number of troops could not be spared at this stage.
Meanwhile, the option of having a phased census was also discussed during the meeting. However, it was observed that the phased census was not in line with international best practices particularly keeping in view some specific factors related to Pakistan which would raise serious contentions on the credibility of the exercise.
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It was, therefore, unanimously decided that census shall be postponed and a new date may be finalised at a later stage in consultation with all the relevant stakeholders.
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