Minister of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal, directed Provincial Governments to complete the Field verification/coverage of 7th Population and Housing Census till 15th May, 2023 in areas where Population growth is not in line with normal Demographic trends and close the field operation in all areas exhibiting natural trends.
In pursuance of the 12th meeting of the Census Monitoring Committee and meeting with Demographers and Political parties, a follow-up meeting was held on 30th April 2023, with Provincial Chief Secretaries chaired by Minister of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Prof Ahsan Iqbal to discuss the nomenclature for completion of fieldwork of the 7th Population and Housing Census by May 15, 2023.
During the meeting, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal emphasized that Prime Minister, Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has taken strict notice on the repeated extensions of field enumeration activities of the 7th Population and Housing Census, therefore, targeted verification and enumeration operations should be carried out in areas with abnormal Population Growth, where gaps have already been highlighted using the digital systems architected by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics for the first-ever digital census.
He stressed that special efforts should be made in urban areas of Punjab, Sindh and KP and ICT to counter issues of under coverage and low coverage. A uniform data-driven policy must be adopted to conclude the field enumeration in all provinces. Strict monitoring of fieldwork and daily sharing of progress with PBS headquarters for onward submission to Minister PD & SI, must be adopted to fill the gaps and successfully concluding this exercise.
He further shared that along with under-enumeration, the digital system has also identified over-counting and cases where census exercise has been manipulated or tampered which has resulted in abnormal trends. He strongly directed concerned teams to address such cases strictly to avoid such incidences in future.
He once again stressed on the completion of the exercise on 15th May, 2023 for timely handing over data to the Election Commission of Pakistan.
Secretary PD & SI, Syed Zafar Ali Shah informed Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and stakeholders to redouble their efforts to complete the exercise till 15th May, 2023 and to adopt a uniform policy in all blocks throughout the country to complete the exercise.
Chief Census Commissioner, Dr. Naeem uz Zafar, presented the latest updates and recommendations for the completion of the exercise within the stipulated time. He requested that for addressing gaps and timely completion of exercise the support of provincial governments in monitoring and deep surveillance of field exercise, along with the support of law and order agencies for provision of security to enumerators is critical.
He further added that there is a need to make efforts to ensure full coverage of restricted areas, collective residences and gated communities. Daily progress sharing with PBS head office and sharing of under coverage and no coverage complaints by civil society and stakeholders to respective provincial governments will play an effective role in quick decision-making and concluding the gigantic activity of field enumeration.
It was decided in the meeting that field operation should specifically focus on verification/coverage of leftover areas in Punjab (33 districts), Sindh (8 districts), KP (9 districts), Balochistan (3 districts) and ICT along with verification exercise in specific areas. Further, to conclude the exercise within the stipulated time, PBS higher management will hold series of meetings starting with Chief Commissioner Islamabad on 1st May, 2023, with Provincial Government of Punjab on 2nd May, 2023, KP on 3rd May, 2023, Sindh on 4th May, 2023 and Balochistan on 5th May, 2023 and provide details of target areas showing negative growth, non-living units, single person/two persons’ households to districts for successful completion of task.