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Secretary Planning Hamid Yaqoob chaired a progress review meeting on bringing transparency, credibility, and ownership in the entire census process and the sensitivity of the issue and its long-term effects here in Islamabad on Friday. Sarwar Gondal, Member PBS, and senior officials attended the meeting.

Dated : 13 August 2021

Secretary Planning Hamid Yaqoob chaired a progress review meeting on bringing transparency, credibility, and ownership in the entire census process and the sensitivity of the issue and its long-term effects here in Islamabad on Friday. Sarwar Gondal, Member PBS, and senior officials attended the meeting.

Council of Common Interest (CCI) in its 45th Meeting held on 12th April 2021 decided to approve the final results of 6th Population & Housing Census-2017 in the larger national interest and also decided that “the process of next census should start as early as possible according to international best practices by using the latest technology”.

Keeping in view the importance of the matter, the Government of Pakistan constituted a Committee of renowned Demographers & Experts from all Provinces under the Chair of Deputy Chairman Planning Commission (DCPC) to bring credibility & transparency to the whole Census & to adopt best international practices with extensive Terms of Reference for 7th Population & Housing Census (Digital Census). The Committee held seven meetings and reviewed the Census-2017 processes in detail to identify issues and observed that one of the major issues was “trust deficit” due to lack of involvement of stakeholders especially Provinces in the whole census process. The Committee strongly recommended that in order to bring transparency, credibility, and ownership of whole census processes, Provinces must be involved from start to end i.e. from planning to the compilation of census results.

As per recommendations of the Committee Govt. decided to involve the Provinces in each step, therefore the first initial meeting was held on 13.08.2021 under the Chairmanship of Secretary, M/o PD&SI with Chief Secretaries of all Provinces. Secretary & PD&SI given a brief background on the matter and informed that owing to the sensitivity of the matter and its long-term ramifications, it is imperative to include all stakeholder’s especially provinces in the whole process to start with clear roles and responsibilities to avoid the problems faced in past. It was also informed that detailed physical meetings of PBS teams will be held in the next fortnight with provincial governments/ AJ&K & GB for detailed deliberation and feedback for the conduct of the 7th Population & Housing Census. Mr. Muhammad Sarwar Gondal presented in detail the broader recommendations of the Census Committee with a clear roadmap and timelines to complete the processing time for the provision of data to ECP for the conduct of the next elections. He also highlighted the role of provinces in the field of data collection & monitoring process. All honorable participants appreciated the work done by PBS and were of the view that political ownership of the process is essential for the successful conduct of census & wider acceptability of results, therefore Provincial Governments and political leadership may be taken into confidence before proceeding further. All Chief Secretaries and Representatives of the Provincial governments agreed to fully support PBS for conducting this gigantic task.