ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has approved a summary sent by the Election Commission of Pakistan to conduct a fresh population census across the country, which will now be presented at the next meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI).
The summary discloses that the premier has finally given his nod to place the matter before the upcoming meeting of the CCI to carry out the process with the consent of all provinces as early as possible, according to a private TV channel claiming to have a copy of the summary.
Pakistan has not conducted the census since 1998, which stands outdated after 15 years because the population in on the increase at a rate of 2.3 per cent per annum.
After several delays, the exercise was scheduled to be completed by end of 2011, but the process has yet to commence. The house listing exercise, which precedes the main census, was completed in April of 2011. The process was also marred by glitches and subsequent postponements, however.
The summary states that the delimitation of constituencies of the national and provincial assemblies for the next general elections can only be undertaken after a fresh census.
The distribution of funds between the federation and the provinces are made through National Finance Commission, which also uses census figures.
“Since the election of 2002, no fresh census was conducted, therefore, on the eve of general elections 2008 and 2013, the Election Commission only re-described the constituencies where new districts, tehsils/talukas or administrative units were created by the provincial governments,” the summary reads.
“At present, the ECP understands that a summary was moved to the prime minister in 2010 for conducting census by March 2011; however, the Council of Common Interest has yet to grant approval for the conduct of population census,” a senior official said.
After the approval of the summary by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the matter has now to be passed by the CCI before the population census exercise may finally begin.
A CCI meeting is expected to be called as early as January in which the summary is likely to be tabled.