ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Friday rehired Chief Census Commissioner Asif Bajwa –who already completed his five-year term – as a consultant to facilitate data compilation of population census that ended in May this year.
Bajwa has been hired as a consultant to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS)–the body that conducts national headcount - on the same emolument he was drawing earlier, which is equivalent to maximum benefits being availed by Management Pay Scale–1 officer, according to a notification of the Establishment Division.
Census 2017: Smooth sailing for enumerators on day one
He has been hired only for six months, starting from July 4.
Bajwa had completed his term as chief statistician and chief census commissioner on July 3. He is the elder brother of Tariq Bajwa, who has been recently appointed as the governor of State Bank of Pakistan.
Bajwa had remained secretary Statistics Division and became the chief statistician after the previous Pakistan Peoples Party government reorganised the statistics body.
Foreign observers ‘satisfied with census process’
The government also appointed Rukhsana Yasmin as federal secretary of Statistics Division. She belongs to Inland Revenue Service and was serving as member Taxpayer Audit of Federal Board of Revenue. The post of secretary statistics had fallen vacant after retirement of Dr Shujat Ali in May this year.
The General Statistics Reorganisation Act of 2011 gives vast powers to the chief statistician and the post of the secretary statistics has become a symbolic post dealing with the limited affairs of the Statistics Division.
Census may be delayed, admits top officer
The chief statistician is the administrative head of the PBS.
The provisional summary of the results for the sixth population census will be finalised by the end of this month, said Bajwa, adding that the final results of the census will be available by April next year.
Bajwa’s six-month second term will end by January 3, 2018 –almost four months before the final results will be available.
Population census source of fear and hope for minorities
However, the process of appointing a new chief statistician has already kicked off and the short-listing of applications has been completed.
Although the summary results of the sixth population census will be available within two weeks, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has already announced that it will not redraw constituencies on the basis of summary results.
For reshaping the boundaries, the ECP has decided to take into account the final census data, duly endorsed by the Council of Common Interests.
Census team accuses lawmaker of non-cooperation
According to Bajwa, the ECP can also take into account the summary results, which will take another nine months to complete.
If boundaries for the national and provincial assemblies’ constituencies are marked in accordance with the 1998 census, hundreds of thousands of new census blocks, involving more than 20 million people, will be left out of the polling exercise, according to media reports.
The population census data becomes the basis for distribution of financial resources among the federating units, allocation of job quotas and more importantly determining the size and numbers of constituencies in the federating units.