ISLAMABAD - While the government has for the first time in country’s history planned to hold next CCI’s meeting in shortest interval, the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination has been directed to immediately submit a feasible draft proposal for conducting census to the PM Secretariat.

Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) has been instructed to make a draft proposal in shortest possible time in order to create consensus in all provinces, sources in the government told The Nation.

The Ministry will shortly start work on report to conduct population census in one go. “The report will be submitted to the PM secretariat with possible feasibilities,” sources added.

As the CCI in its last meeting had decided to discuss national census in the upcoming meeting to work out modalities and availability for it.

This meeting was informed about the unavailability of armed forces for the one-day exercise owing to its engagement in the ongoing military operation against militants.

A number of attempts were made to contact Minister IPC Riaz Pirzada but he was not available on cell-phone.

In the last meeting it was informed that the country was divided into 166,819 blocks for which staff of 210,239 heads was required while deployment of required army personnel in March/April was ‘not possible’.

The federal government with all the four chief ministers postponed the census and decided to again call meeting on March 25.

Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah, who pushed all the stakeholders to hold census in the country, has recently reiterated that the census has not been cancelled but postponed until the second meeting of the CCI on March 25. Shah also reportedly remarked that Balochistan and KP have expressed reservations over census but he would bring them on same page.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had also turned down the recommendation to hold census in phases. As the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has already ruled the possibility of conducting it in phases.

The PBS argued that the decision to hold it in phases could technically create difficulty for government due to potent reasons, including new births and death and movement of the people.

The matter of census was also recently included in the agenda of last CCI due to its importance. As, the census issue was finalised in previous meeting of CCI but could not be materialised.

"Population census could delay if required people for security were not provided and it is not feasible in phases," said Chief Statistician Asif Bajwa, had recently stated in the Senate Standing Committee on Finance.

Pakistan is planning to population census after 18 years as last time it was conducted in 1998.

The first census in Pakistan was conducted in 1951, second in 1961, and third in 1972. Fourth census was held in March 1981 and fifth, which was due in 1991, was conducted in March 1998. However, no census was conducted in 18 years.