ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has given the go-ahead to the Azad Jammu and Kashmir government to conduct a census in the valley on April 29.
The master training for the census will take place between Jan 21 and Jan 29.
As many as 2,800 personnel will be deployed by the AJK government for the census, the AJK premier said in a statement.
A meeting was held here at the Kashmir House under the chair of AJK Chief Secretary Sikander Sultan Raja. Senior Board of Revenue member Fayyaz Ali Abbasi, Local Government Department Secretary Raja Mahmoodul Hasan, Education Secretary Arshad Qureshi, AJK Census Commissioner Raja Tariq, Chief Statistician of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics Asif Bajwa and others attended the meeting.
Raja Tariq, who is also the focal person for the census in AJK, briefed the participants about the arrangements.
The census in AJK would follow the same exercise in Pakistan.
On December 16, the Council of Common Interests (CCI) had decided to finally hold the census across Pakistan on March 15. The meeting decided that the census would be carried out in two phases. The house-listing and headcount would be carried out in ‘one go’ and each phase would be carried out in all provinces simultaneously.
The decision was taken after the Supreme Court took strong exception to prolonged delay in the exercise that was last held in 1995. The government first decided to conduct census in Pakistan on April 15 but changed the date to hold the census a month earlier after the apex court rejected the given date.
Federal government officials say the decision to hold the census in AJK on April 29 has been taken due to operational reasons. By the time the census would start in AJK, the exercise in the rest of Pakistan would be in the final phases, which would allow smooth management of the operation.
The officials said that the apex court’s order was applicable in Pakistan and there was no such restriction to hold the census in AJK on March 15 due to which the government fixed the date of April 29 after thoroughly reviewing the matter.
Like in Pakistan, the census would be held phase-wise in AJK and it is expected to be completed within two to three weeks. The AJK government has been instructed by the federal government to start preparations for the exercise.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2017.