The Statistics Division has requested some 0.2 million Pakistan Army officials to assist in providing security to the staff conducting the census and to help in collecting data, in case they are required.
“Army personnel will only respond to distress calls of enumerators in case they face resistance in sensitive areas of the state,” Secretary Statistic Division, Asif Bajwa, said on Thursday. Addressing a press conference, Bajwa said, “The Pakistan Army, Rangers, Frontier Constabulary, Levies and other paramilitary forces have offered to support the survey teams.” He however ruled out any resistance from miscreants in volatile areas of the country especially in Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal belt. The census will cost Rs5 billion. After the 1998 census, Pakistan’s population was estimated to be 132 million while according to recent data the population has risen above 175 million. Apart from Pakistan, 73 countries have started the process.
Bajwa said that the first phase of the census, which is now underway, includes house listing. In this phase three forms will be distributed among the population and summary sheets of house materials will be compiled by 19th April. The main operation will begin on October 6 during which form 2A - a questionnaire related to demographic and social characteristics, literacy, geographical area, economic characteristics and fertility – will be circulated. The division has stated that no details will be made public till the completion of whole process.
“For the process, 146,270 enumerators – 90 per cent of which are teachers – have been appointed,” Bajwa said adding, “The final census report will be released in December.”
The staff conducting the census will be supervised by 3,626 district officers and tehsildars. Some 22,408 circle supervisors will also collect details of houses to conduct a detailed survey of urban and rural areas, Bajwa said.
He said that teams will conduct surveys 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 city districts, 174 municipal committees, 286 town committees and 43 cantonments.
Data will also be conducted in 14 tehsils of volatile Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa which include Chitral, Dir, Malakand and Kohistan. House listing in various villages of Fata and Gilgit-Baltistan will also be undertaken. Bajwa said that the flood affected population will also be included. “We will go into every tent of the IDPs to ensure their count,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2011.