The Council of Common Interest (CCI) on Monday approved the results of 2017 national population and housing census with majority votes and decided to hold the new census by end of 2021.
The meeting of the CCI was presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan and attended by chief ministers of all provinces.
Giving details of the meeting at a press conference, Minster for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said the chief ministers of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan voted in favour of the approval while the Sindh chief minister voted against the approval. However, he said that keeping in view the reservations showed by some stakeholders including Sindh government over the results of the census, the CCI has decided to start the process of 7th national population census by October this year.
“What we had to do was that either to approve or to reject the results, and as the decision of rejection would mean a great loss to the provinces, the CCI has approved with majority vote and decided not to wait for 10 years to hold the next census,” Asad Umar said. He added that the framework for new census would be prepared within six to eight weeks and then approval would be sought from the CCI. “About four months after the approval, the process of new census would start by end September or start of October this year.” The minister said the census is a process that spans over a period of 18 months so it would be completed by start of 2023. “The general elections are expected to be held in October 2023 so the next election would be held on the basis of new census results,” he added.
Asad Umar said the cost of the new census is estimated at around Rs 23 billion which will be divided into two fiscal years – FY2022 and FY2023. Referring to the reservations of the Sindh government over the result of 2017 census, the minister pointed out that the PTI was neither in Sindh nor in federal governments at that time but the PTI government respects the reservations of the Sindh government that is its constitutional right. “Although the technical experts of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) are ready to respond to the queries raised over the census claiming that they can prove that there is nothing wrong with the results but despite that the CCI has decided to conduct fresh consensus which is a big and costly process,” he added.