ISLAMABAD - The Prime Minister Secretariat has failed to hold an important meeting regarding the validation of five per cent blocks, on the basis of the 6th population census, as the Council of Common Interests is yet to send minutes of its last meeting to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) for deliberations.

The CCI Secretariat, even after a hiatus of two weeks, has not forwarded the minutes of the meeting to the PBS for the validation of 6th population census.

On March 27, the CCI reiterated its earlier decision that the five per cent blocks of the census will be carried out through a third party.

However, the CCI had linked it with the condition of finalising its modalities with the PM Office, which would be held after the CCI issues the minutes of the meeting in the next few days.

Talking to The Nation, PBS spokesperson Habibullah Khattak said that the CCI Secretariat has yet not sent minutes of the 36th meeting.

The PBS would deliberate upon the matter after receiving the details from the CCI.

“In the light of the CCI minutes, a meeting will be arranged with the PM Office to give it the final touches,” he said. The meeting with Prime Minister Office would be held as soon as they received the CCI minutes, he said.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Statistics, last week, could also not deliberate a mechanism for the audit of the census blocks.

The Committee was informed that the matter had again been discussed by the CCI on March 27, however, a concrete decision in that regard was awaited.

In November last year, the CCI had decided that census blocks should be selected randomly to ensure transparency. It was said that more than 8,000 blocks (five percent) would be selected through balloting from various parts of the country without.

Both the Houses of the Parliament had passed a Constitutional amendment about fresh delimitation of the constituencies on the basis of provisional results of the 6th population census.

Two Opposition parties, the PPP and the MQM-P, had raised objections to the results, demanding the third-party audit of five per cent blocks.

The first population census was held in 1951, the second in 1961, the third in 1972, the fourth in 1981, the fifth in 1998 and the 6th census was conducted in 2017. The census is considered to be one of the basic elements for judicious distribution of resources, calculating representation in parliament, electoral processes, tax collection, tackling civic issues, including growing urbanisation and evaluation of resources for infrastructure development.

Under the Constitution, the government is bound to conduct census after every 10 years.