Population Census 2017
The Chief Census Commissioner has turned down the objections raised by political parties over the recent census results and has claimed that the verification of “every individual” has been ensured.
Briefing the Senate Committee on Privatisation and Statistics about the recent population census, the Commissioner stated that the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics has verified the national identity cards of twenty (20) per cent of the population through the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), while adding that seventy (70) million people in the country do not hold identity cards.
The demands of the opposition that the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics should compare its records with that of the army to get a clear picture have been rejected. The Commissioner has verified that both institutions have similar records, adding that the army has assisted the department in carrying out the census by providing security and ensuring that the process is transparent.
The reason there is not much difference in the population of Karachi and Lahore – the provincial capitals of Sindh and Punjab – is that the government has declared the entire Lahore district as ‘urban’, while two districts in Karachi are still classified as ‘rural’.
The Senator of the Pakistan Peoples Party has rejected the census results, pointing out that the populations of Karachi and Lahore have not shown any major differences, which is simply not possible.
The Chief Census Commissioner also dismissed the objections over the census of the transgender community, stating that only those who have declared themselves as transgender have been included in the category. “No one was counted as a transgender based on his or her appearance,” he told the Committee.
Moreover, the Committee was informed that overseas Pakistanis have not been included in the census.
The final census report will be prepared by April 2018, with the cost of the census amounting to Rs 17 billion.
The Committee has demanded a post-census survey in one (1) per cent out of the 168,943 blocks. The blocks to be surveyed will be determined by the respected provincial governments.
Opposition parties have voiced their concerns over the preliminary results of the national census, questioning the authenticity of the figures released by the statistics division.
They have demanded that the data collected by the Statistics Division be compared to that of the Pakistan Army in order to obtain authentic results. They have also claimed that the government has treated the enumeration exercise as a mere formality, no one is satisfied with the way the census was conducted.
Whereas, it has been clarified that the census has been conducted based on the 1998 model.
According to census results, twenty (20) per cent of Pakistan’s population lives in ten (10) cities. Karachi is the most populated city of Pakistan, housing 14.9 million people, which shows a fifty-seven (57) per cent increase in the population since 1998.
Lahore holds the second position with 11.13 million people, showing an alarming increase of seventy-five (75) per cent in its population followed by Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Hyderabad, among others.
On average, the population in the Pakistan’s ten (10) largest cities has grown by seventy (71) per cent over the past nineteen (19) years, and currently stands at forty-one (41) million, as compared to the twenty-four (24) million who lived there in 1998.