Hope for long-awaited population census arises

| ECP summary ready for presentation to CCI after PM approval

ISLAMABAD - A much needed and much awaited fresh population census of the country is likely to be approved soon, as prime minister has approved an Election Commission summary seeking the permission to present the matter in next meeting of the Council of Common Interest (CCI).
After about 16 years, the government is set to conduct fresh population census in the country. With this census, total population of the country would be registered and the ECP would be able to demarcate afresh the constituencies of national and provincial assemblies well before the next general election in the country.
Interestingly, the Electoral Rolls published by the ECP in 2012 were prepared on the basis of new census blocks (approximately 14,2000 in number) notified by the Population Census Organisation in 2012 after the conduct of house listing exercise in 2011. Now after the nod of PM, the Inter-Provincial Coordination Ministry would table the matter in the CCI. And, after securing the final approval of all provinces, population census would be held in 2014, a senior official at ECP said.
“The PM has approved to conduct fresh population census across the country and directed the ministry to present the matter in the CCI for further process,” according to a copy of ECP summary available with The Nation. “At present, the ECP understands that a summary was moved to the PM in 2010 for conducting census by March 2011; however, the CCI did not grant approval for the census,” the ECP summary reads.
The roll authority (ECP) in its summary, dispatched earlier to the premier, also said that under the provisions of Article 51(3) and (5) of the constitution of Pakistan and the provisions of Section 7 of the delimitation of Constituencies Act, 1974, the delimitation of constituencies can only be undertaken after a fresh census. Since, after the election of 2002, no fresh census was conducted, therefore, on the eve of general elections 2008 and 2013, the ECP only re-described the constituencies where new districts, tehsils/taulkas or administrative units were created by the provincial governments.
Official sources told this scribe that ECP is also responsible to carry out the delimitation of national and provincial assemblies constituencies under the constitution. In view of increase of population since 1998 and creation of new districts, tehsils/talukas and other administrative boundaries in all the provinces, fresh delimitation of constituencies should be carried out throughout the country so as to increase the number of seats in the NA and PAs, if required and to provide the exact share of representation in the legislature on the basis of population as contained in Section 8 of the Delimitation of Constituencies Act, 1974 and according to the principles of delimitation laid down under Section 9 of the Act, sources added. The fourth census was held in March 1981 and fifth one, which was due in 1991, was held in March 1998. Thus presently, the 1998 population census is the official census done by the government of Pakistan.
House listing operation was completed in April 2011 for the sixth population census, but due to political problems the countrywide population census could not be held.

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