First stage of decennial census kicks off today

The estimated cost of this census is Rs5 billion, first stage will be completed by April 19.


Zahid Gishkori April 05, 2011

ISLAMABAD:


The Statistics Division of Pakistan (SDP) will begin the sixth population census in the country on Tuesday (today), but an outright refusal by the country’s top security agencies to participate in it might hinder the exercise, especially in volatile areas.


According to details, the first stage of the census includes the house listing and summary sheets of house materials. The estimated cost of this census is Rs5 billion. The first stage will be completed by April 19.

The main census operation and installation of data capture equipment will begin on October 6. No details will be made public till the completion of the process. “A total of 146,270 enumerators, said to be teachers, will conduct the census in 424 census districts in the rural and urban areas of the country,” according to Secretary Statistics Division Asif Bajwa.

Census-takers and associated workers will be supervised by 3,626 district census officers and tehsildars in the first stage of the population census, he said.

Some 22,408 circle supervisors will collect the details of the houses to conduct a detailed survey of urban and rural areas, he added.

He said the teams would conduct the survey in 25 divisions, 139 districts, 424 census districts, 533 tehsils, 62 towns, 1,470 urban union councils, 50,612 villages, 6,055 rural union councils, 62 towns of the city districts, 174 municipal committees, 286 town committees and 43 cantonments.

The census will also be carried out in 14 tehsils in the volatile areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa including Chitral, Dir, Malakand and Kohistan. House listing in various villages of Fata and Gilgit-Baltistan will also be undertaken.

Three forms will be distributed for the census 2011 where Form-1 is for house listing. Form-2A is a detailed questionnaire while Form-2 relates to the population census which is to begin in autumn.

Demographic and social characteristics, literacy, geographical area, economic characteristics and fertility have also been included.

The SDP officially requested for some 0.2 million soldiers, including officers, for 15 days to provide security cover to the field staff as well as for the collection of questionnaires.

The army will not participate in the population census. “Army personnel will only respond to distress calls of enumerators in case they face resistance in sensitive areas of the state,” the chief census officer said.

The army, Rangers, Frontier Constabulary, Levies and other paramilitary forces guaranteed their support to survey teams, he added.

Earlier, he ruled out any resistance from miscreants in volatile areas of the state especially in Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and the tribal areas.

According to the 1998 census Pakistan’s population was around 132 million while the PCO’s current data states that the population has risen above 175 million.

Meanwhile, according to Sindh Education Minister
Pir Mazharul Haq, no
one consulted with his department before selecting the enumerators. But federal Secretary Statistics Asif Bajwa insisted they had consulted with the education department.

Briefing members of the Sindh Assembly a few days ago, he said that the census was being started with the approval of the CCI.

“The reports are baseless about the federal government’s intervention in provincial affairs. All the chief ministers were present during the CCI meeting held in Islamabad and they backed the idea for a census in the country,” Bajwa added.

A few political parties including the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) expressed their reservation over the census procedure and said they would protest over it at various forums.

On the other hand nationalist parties in Sindh have started a campaign to mobilise people by establishing the Sindh Census Monitoring Committee.

The committee headed by President Sindh United Party Jalal Memood Shah has demanded the deployment of the Army in sensitive areas to ensure transparency in the process.

WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY HAFEEZ TUNIO IN KARACHI

Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th,  2011.

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