It is considered impossible to make plans for the future in a country where the exact figure of the total population is unknown. As per the Constitution of Pakistan, it is obligatory to conduct a population census after every 10 years. However, this important task has been ignored for various reasons. Almost 16 years have lapsed (1998) since the last official population census was conducted.

The Council of Common Interest (CCI), in its meeting in 2010 issued directives to the concerned departments for holding the 6th population census but, unfortunately, they never materialised. The population census should have been conducted prior to the May 2013 general elections to make them free, fair and transparent. It is the lack of data that has created the greater possibility of fake voter-lists. Had the government setup worked on the population census, the current political crisis would not have existed. Why do we need to conduct population census? Actually, the data collected from population census can help the policymakers to plan socioeconomic development and administrative activities, besides it can also be used as a yardstick for demographic research, human resources and their living conditions. In the current scenario of law and order situation, the government needs to closely monitor and collect the required data through credible and reliable sources about the refugees, immigrants, and more particularly about the citizens. The census should be made obligatory after every four years, so that the general elections, which are held after every five years, could become transparent and accurate in terms of population statistics.

TAJ NABI KHAN,

Islamabad, September 10.