ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Politics of Census in Pakistan

Prior to the long-delayed 2017 census, socio-economic planning in Pakistan had used obsolete data, widening the gulf between the rich and the poor. The new census has not drastically improved the situation either. The collected data remain incomplete, reflecting the infrastructural weaknesses of the underlying institutions. Many provinces have voiced their concerns about the recent census, but these have not been addressed. Without political resolve to compile and make available more exhaustive information, meaningful planning to address societal inequities in Pakistan cannot take place.

The author is thankful to the anonymous reviewer for valuable comments.

The best possible way to plan and effectively allocate resources for a country is to use census data. In Pakistan, allocations of financial resources to the provinces (using National Finance Commission or NFC awards), seats in the National Assembly, and even federal jobs are made on the basis of census data. In the absence of valid and current data, all this is based on guesswork.

Pakistan’s constitution requires that seats in the National Assembly be based on the last officially published census. Although there is a general agreement that census should be conducted every 10 years, the constitution does not stipulate any time frame. Changes in the Statistics Act also ensure that the government is not bound to hold the census at regular intervals.

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Updated On : 23rd Mar, 2018
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