The Pakistani government has formed a committee to address concerns about the accuracy of the ongoing seventh population census, after it was reported that the population of Karachi had been counted incorrectly. The committee was formed by Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal and comprises Secretary Planning Syed Zafar Ali Shah, Chief Census Commissioner Dr Naeem uz Zafar, and provincial chief secretaries.
The census is being conducted digitally for the first time, with 95% of the counting completed so far. However, the reported population of Karachi is lower than that counted in the previous census in 2017, which stood at 16 million. This figure has remained disputed, with political parties claiming that it is inaccurate.
The committee will look into “undercounting” in major cities and suggest a way to resolve the issue to ensure a transparent and credible census field operation. The directives came during a meeting to review the progress of the ongoing digital census.
The planning minister also directed the Census Monitoring Committee to discuss how to complete the process within the deadline. He also directed Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) to conduct geo-tagging to count the population of “missing” slums.
The meeting was attended by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Amin ul Haque, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) chief census commissioner, secretary planning, National Database and Registration Authority director, National Telecom Corporation managing director, and other stakeholders.
During the meeting, the chief census commissioner briefed the attendees about the targets achieved so far and the problem of undercounting in big cities, high-rise buildings, and slum areas. He added that the PBS has appointed monitoring teams to find gaps in “low-coverage areas” to investigate the “real issue”.
The official stated that the major reason for “low coverage” was undercounting by field enumerators. He requested provincial officials to be more vigilant to resolve the issue.
In conclusion, the formation of a committee to address concerns about undercounting during the ongoing population census is a positive step towards ensuring the accuracy and credibility of the census data. It is crucial that accurate population data is obtained to aid in effective policymaking and planning for the country’s development. The government’s efforts to address undercounting in major cities and slum areas are commendable, and it is hoped that the committee’s recommendations will lead to a transparent and credible census field operation.