CCI approves the release of 2017 census data after 3.5 years

The Council of Common Interest (CCI) has approved the official release of the Census-2017 results and decided to immediately start the process to conduct a fresh population census across the country and to hold the next general election in 2023 based on the new census.

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Council of Common Interests approves the release of the 2017 census results. Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar on Monday said that the majority in the CCI agreed with the release of the census results and that Sindh was the only province to oppose the decision.

Additionally, the national government has also decided to hold the next census in October 2021 by integrating new technology in the system, in order to avoid the mistakes of the last census. Now, the census would be digitized and would be conducted in accordance with the UN guidelines. According to Mr. Umer, the result of the census would be available in 2023.

The minister also said that the CCI led by the Prime Minister had only two options on the table, accept or reject the census conducted in 2017, and the majority voted in favor of the former option.

He added that if the census results were rejected, then the situation might have landed the country back into 1998 situation. He said the census results had impacted politically, as the National Assembly seats for Punjab got reduced while the seats of other provinces increased.

Read More: MQM-P demands a separate urban province in Sindh

Blaming the former government, he said that the government had ignored the problem at hand, intentionally transferring it to the incumbent government. He said that the government had no option but to accept the 2017 census and move forward with a new one quickly. The framework would be prepared in the next eight weeks and then CCI will approve it.

“About four months after the approval, the process of the new census would start by end-September or start of October this year,” the minister said, adding that since the census takes almost more than 18 months, it would be completed by the start of 2023.

“So, the next general elections are expected to be held in October or November 2023 and they will be held on the basis of new census results.”

The burden on the national exchequer for the new census would be Rs23 billion, divided between two fiscal years, 2022 and 2023.

Regarding the contention by the Sindh government, Asad Umer said that it is their constitutional right to have such reservations. However, he also added that according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the data for the 2017 census is correct, and the experts at the bureau are ready to respond to the queries related to the subject.

In the 6th 2017 census’s block and provisional level data result was approved on 13th November 2017. As the census is approved, the final population of Pakistan in 2017 is 207.68 million with a growth rate of 2.4 percent compared to 1988. The country according to the new census has more males with 106.3 million male population and 101.3 million female population.

According to the census, the highest population density area in Pakistan is Islamabad, and the lowest is in Balochistan. The majority of the population lies in the 15 to 64 years age bracket and 63.56% of Pakistan’s population is still living in rural areas.

The 2017 census was controversial as the rural-urban disparity was shown higher, and the definition of the two has not been clear. The census allegedly under-estimated the transgender population in the country, despite deciding to count them separately.

Read More: The implications of Pakistan’s unbridled population growth

These are only two of the problems that are being debated among many, but now that the data is set to be released to the public, the figures would be much clearer than before, leading to better analysis of the data.

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