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Overseas Pakistanis not been included in census: Chief Census Commissioner

30 August, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Chief Census Commissioner Asif Bajwa on Tuesday turned down the objections raised by political parties over the recent census results, claiming that the verification of "every individual" was ensured.

Briefing the Senate Committee on Privatisation and Statistics about the recent population census, Bajwa said that the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) had verified the national identity cards of 20 percent of the population through the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), adding that 70 million people in the country did not have identity cards.

Rejecting the opposition's demands that the PBS should compare its records with that of the army to get a clear picture, Bajwa said that both institutions had similar records, adding that the army had assisted the department in carrying out the census by ensuring that the process was transparent and by providing security.

Bajwa said that the reason there was not much difference in the population of Karachi and Lahore was that the government had declared the entire Lahore district as urban, while two districts in Karachi were still classified as rural.

PPP Senator Aijaz Dhamra had rejected the census results, pointing out that the populations of Karachi and Lahore - the provincial capitals of Sindh and Punjab - had not shown major differences, which was not possible.

The chief census commissioner also dismissed the objections over the transgender community's census, saying that only those who had declared themselves as transgenders were included in the category. "No one was counted as transgender based on their appearance," he told the committee.

Bajwa informed the committee that overseas Pakistanis had not been included in the census.

He said that final census report would be prepared by April 2018, adding that the cost of the census was Rs 17 billion.

The committee demanded a post-census survey in 1 percent of the 168,943 blocks. The blocks to be surveyed will be determined by provincial governments, it said.

Opposition parties, notably the PPP and the MQM, had voiced serious concerns over the preliminary results of the national census, questioning the authenticity of the figures released by the Statistics Division.

Opposition leader Khurshid Shah had released a statement last week, demanding that data collected by the Statistics Division and the Pakistan Army be compared to get authentic results.

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