Govt suspends census verification process


ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday suspended the process of independently verifying the results of sixth housing and population census.

The decision came after the emergence of differences between Senate and the Council of Common Interests (CCI) over the process.

Following Sindh’s objection that its population had been reduced in the results by at least 10 million people, the government decided to verify 5% results. The government and opposition parties agreed to carry out the verification of the results through a third party.

Ministry of Statistics Secretary Rukhsana Yasmeen, while briefing the National Standing Committee on Statistics, said, “A joint meeting of the governing council of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) and a three-member commission that was scheduled for February 16 to approve the terms of reference (ToRs) of the sample census had been cancelled on the Senate’s intervention.”

The PBS was already in the process of short-listing a third-party firm to conduct a population survey of the 5%.

Rukhsana Yasmeen said that PBS was mandated by the CCI to hire a third-party to conduct the survey and end the controversy.

“The PBS has invited Expression of Interests from local firms and shortlisted 12 out of 18 applicants,” she said.

She further said, “However, PPP’s Senator Taj Haider moved a motion in the Senate and argued that the third party means members of the Senate.”

She said that PBS suspended the process because of clear differences. Senate had asked Senator Raja Zafarul Haq to devise a future strategy and PBS was waiting for a meeting with him, she added.

The secretary further said that the final results of the population census would not be affected by the controversy and hoped that PBS would be able to verify the results by the end of April which it would present to the CCI.

She said that it was not advisable to conduct a direct verification of the population because the census results were one year old and the government would have to adopt the old methodology for the verification process.