Census extended for 5th time for 15 more days

JI leader claims half of Karachi’s population not counted yet

Our Correspondent April 29, 2023


Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Friday announced that the deadline for the ongoing 7th Population and Housing Census was being extended for 15 more days – the final date being postponed for the fifth time.

The date for the census, which was originally scheduled to be completed by April 4, has been extended for 15 days to May 15.

The process was at first extended till April 10 and then further till April 15, 20 and 30.

“We have the space to extend the enumeration till October or November,” the minister maintained while addressing a news conference in Islamabad accompanied by Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman after participating in a meeting on the country's first digital census.

Iqbal conceded that the process of census was running at a slow pace in the urban parts of the country.

He added that it was being felt that not everyone had been counted in the country’s far-flung areas.

The minister said the assistance of the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) was being sought to identify the number of houses in some areas.

Iqbal admitted that there were  “fault line” because of which census could not be conducted for 20 years.

He added that everyone in the country should be counted in the census as the process was not only aimed at generating numbers.

The minister said the cooperation of all stakeholders, including political parties, was required to finish the process.

Speaking on the occasion, the JI Karachi chief claimed that nearly half of his city’s population had not been counted.

He added that during the meeting, he had raised the issues being faced by the economic hub of the country during the  entire exercise.

He claimed that the process of counting households had not even kicked off in Karachi and his party had sought further extension of the census period.

The JI leader said if the census was not completed within its timeframe or the elections were delayed, the responsibility would fall upon the government.

He added that there was no justification behind linking two separate matters together -- in this case the elections with the completion of the census.

He demanded that the areas where there had been an excessive number or not as many individuals counted as they should have been should be looked into again.

The minister asked him to help the government in identifying these areas.

He added that the current government was not biased against province or city.

He further claimed that the National Finance Commission (NFC) award should not be linked to the population of an area.

The JI chief said the committee formed for coordinating with the government for the census should comprise all stakeholders including his own party and the PTI.

He regretted that despite being a stakeholder, the PTI had not attended the huddle held on the census earlier in the dday

He was of the opinion that the  government should take the PTI on board for the process of census and the latter should also cooperate with the former for this purpose.

Separately, while briefing the leaders of political parties, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) said it had counted around 237.5 million people across the country so far.

This is an increase of around 14% considering that the country’s population was counted at 207.68 million during the 2017 census.

The PBS further told the political leaders that the population of Punjab had reached around 116.4 million, followed by almost 51.4 million in Sindh.

In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the population has hit around 39.3 million and nearly 19.7 million in Balochistan.

However, according to the PBS spokesperson, his department had – after a gap of Eid holidays -- counted 235 million people in the country so far -- an increase of 27 million, or nearly 13% since the previous census.

The spokesperson added that so far, 16.5 million people had been counted in Karachi.

He continued that individuals counted in Lahore had exceeded 11.5 million.


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