The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has extended the deadline for the ongoing digital census until April 15th, marking the second time the date has been pushed back. The extension is designed to ensure that the remaining census work is completed and that there is 100% coverage, according to an official statement. The Chief Census Commissioner has granted an extension for census work to be completed in several metropolitan cities, including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Quetta, Gilgit, and Karachi. The census date has also been extended for 13 cities of Balochistan.
This is the first time that the PBS has carried out a digital census, and so far, over 97% of listed households’ data has been collected across the country using tablets. However, less than 3% of census fieldwork remains to be completed, particularly in metropolitan cities across different provinces and a few cities in Balochistan. The PBS has requested that citizens inform the agency via a toll-free number if enumerators have not made a visit. Citizens can also lodge complaints of non-coverage and contact PBS Regional Offices or the 495 Census Support Center established at the tehsil level.
The quality of data is being ensured through a Post Enumeration Survey using Computer Assisted Telephonic Interview (CATI), and citizens have been urged to cooperate fully with field staff and call centre officials who may call them for data verification for quality control. Citizens have also been encouraged to participate fully in the census and lodge complaints of non-coverage if necessary.
The PBS is grateful to the nation and stakeholders for their unwavering support in accomplishing over 97% census field operations. The bureau has suggested an enumeration re-check in around 30,000 buildings of more than four storeys in Karachi and has sent the list of those buildings to the Sindh government. The monitoring team of the PBS has identified 40,000 buildings throughout the country where they fear that some households might not have been counted. Of such buildings, around 30,000 belong to Karachi.
It is pertinent to mention that the work completion percentage may slightly increase after the synchronization of data from some completed blocks, which fall in the offline zone. The completion of census work is over 97% across the country is a landmark achievement and will pave the way for a new era for prosperous Pakistan. The census is not only a moral and legal obligation, but it also provides the opportunity for the government to develop evidence-based policy planning for ensuring citizens’ rights and better service delivery.