CCI unlikely to allow audit of 5 per cent of 2017 census

  • Result of 6th census likely to be finalised without audit due to time constraint

ISLAMABAD: The demand of some political parties for the audit of the 6th national census conducted in 2017 may not be met and results are likely to be finalised by the end of next month as the Ministry of Statistics (MoS) is running short of time to initiate the audit.

The officials of MoS informed National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Statistics that there was lack of time was hindering the audit of the census as almost a year had passed and the results were yet to be finalised.

Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) Secretary Rukhsana Yasmin said that the decision regarding the audit of 5 per cent census was yet to be made by the Council of Common Interests (CCI), which had last met on March 27 in which the statistics division had explained its position regarding the audit.

According to sources, the expected decision of CCI may dishearten some political parties which have been challenging the veracity of the census exercise.

The secretary said that although various political parties criticised the findings of the census in the media, no written complaint was filed with the PBS so far. Even a political party which had shown concerns about the census results did not file the complaint properly.

She also said that the leaders of a political party visited PBS and promised to submit a complaint in writing, but they never did.

According to officials of the Ministry of Statistics, the validation process of Population Census-2017 had remained in a state of limbo due to a difference between the directions issued by the CCI and the decisions of monitoring and oversight committee of senators regarding the mechanism to be adopted for the audit of the census.

The matter had again been presented before the CCI in its meeting held on March 27. However, a concrete decision in that regard was not made.

The ministry also expressed its concern over the misconceived controversies being created over the exhaustive exercise of the recently held census.  It was told that the whole process was carried out according to the best abilities of the ministry.

The committee supported the ministry’s viewpoint in that regard.

Rukhsana Yasmin further said that initially, the CCI’s decision was to carry out random validation exercise of 1 per cent of the census results across the country. However, the forum later decided that audit will be conducted of 5 per cent of census results.

As the exercise was about to be started by a private party in December 2017, a letter was received from the Senate, bearing signatures of Taj Haider and other senators. The letter provided different seven points to the one agreed in the CCI meeting to carry out the audit exercise.

The meeting was attended by MNA Dr Shezra Mansab Ali Khan, Romina Khurshid Alam, Sabiha Nazir, Sarzameen Khan, Iqbal Muhammad Ali Khan and Sahibzada Muhammad Yaqub and other senior officers from MoS and PBS.