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7/24/2017 Pakistani census expected to impact politics, power




2017-03-14 | Politics

Pakistani census expected to impact politics, power

AFP and Staff

The first census in 19 years will be the basis for political and funding adjustments and
comes one year before parliamentary elections.

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7/24/2017 Pakistani census expected to impact politics, power

A Pakistani walks past banners announcing the 2017 census in Islamabad March 13. Pakistan is conducting its first census since
1998. [Aamir Qureshi/AFP]

A Pakistani walks past banners announcing the 2017 census in Islamabad March 13. Pakistan is conducting its first census since
1998. [Aamir Qureshi/AFP]

The first census in 19 years will be the basis for political and funding adjustments and
comes one year before parliamentary elections.

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan this week will embark on the enormous task of conducting its first census in almost
two decades, after years of political bickering about power bases and federal funding.

Fast-growing Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, with an estimated 200 million people, but
has not held a census since 1998, despite a constitutional requirement for decennial counts.

The 1998 census found a population of more than 132 million.

The process starts Wednesday (March 15) and will deploy a team of more than 300,000 civilians and troops and
involve 55 million forms.

It will be the basis for revising political boundaries, parliamentary seat allocations and federal funding, while
giving a clearer picture of religious minority numbers in the Muslim-majority country as well as counting the
transsexual population for the first time.

The census will be conducted in two phases: March 15 to April 15 and April 25 to May 25. Results are expected
by the end of July.

Power and politics

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7/24/2017 Pakistani census expected to impact politics, power

The census is a highly charged issue, coming one year before national parliamentary elections.

"Pakistan does not have a homogenous population," Muddassir Rizvi, head of programmes at the Free and Fair
Elections Network, told AFP. "We are multiple ethnicities; more than 80 different languages are spoken. The
count ... determines the political power of various ethnicities."

Mighty Punjab Province could see its political grip weaken as a result of its population rising more slowly than
those of other provinces.

"It is not a well-received exercise by political actors," said Rizvi. "It's only on the orders ... of the the Supreme
Court that this exercise is being undertaken."

Only nine languages are given as options for citizens' mother tongue, to the dismay of many communities.

The census will provide an insight into the size of religious minorities, especially Christians and Hindus.
Estimates are disputed and far apart, ranging from 2 to 10 million for the former and 2.5 to 4.5 million for the

Citizens may declare themselves Muslim, Christian, Hindu or Ahmadi -- a branch of Islam considered heretic by
the state -- or "other".

Citizens will have three choices for their gender: male, female and transsexual.

Another question asks households how many toilets they have -- a particularly salient question in Pakistan, where
the UN estimates up to 40% of people lack access to indoor plumbing, with serious consequences for health,
especially children's.

Hasty preparations
The lack of political will until this year has resulted in hasty preparations.

The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has been ready to go for 10 years, but the government granted the green
light less than three months ago, giving the PBS little time to train staff and to reassure parties and communities.

"There was very limited time ... to ensure everyone feels the importance of being counted," Hassan Mohtashami,
country director for the UN Population Fund, told AFP.

Many within Pakistan are unhappy that the approximately two million Afghan refugees, who often possess
falsified documents, could be counted as Pashtun Pakistanis, skewing the totals.

In Balochistan, the country's least populous province, a nationalist party has rejected the census, calling it
tantamount to "suicide" because an influx of Pashtuns -- both from other parts of Pakistan as well as from
Afghanistan -- is likely to make the ethnic Baloch a minority in their own region.

Army escorts

The PBS will deploy 119,000 people, including 84,000 enumerators: teachers and local officials who will go door
to door to count households and then individuals.

Pakistan's army announced it would dispatch up to 200,000 troops for the exercise, including 44,000 participating
directly in the census-taking and making a parallel count.

The army will act as "observers" to prevent any inflated counting, said PBS chief statistician Asif Bajwa.

"Being a local person, the enumerator is susceptible to pressures, because everybody knows that a larger
population translates into more jobs, more seats and more money for the province," he told AFP, adding that each
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7/24/2017 Pakistani census expected to impact politics, power

census-taker will have a military "shadow".

That arrangement has created some disquiet for the UN, which is concerned about the army's role as parallel data

"The administration of any kind of other questionnaire during the census is [infringing] on the principle of
confidentiality," said Mohtashami.

In Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), alone, "about 3,500 police officers and FC [Frontier Constabulary]
members and more than 4,500 army soldiers" will guard census teams, Peshawar Capital City Police Officer
Mohammad Tahir told Pakistan Forward.

Preparations in KP
KP residents like Peshawar trader Aziz Ahmad eagerly await the results.

Census statistics "will be helpful in distributing resources and facilities", Ahmad told Pakistan Forward, adding
that the census was overdue.

Meanwhile, Nazir Mohammad, a local nazim from suburban Peshawar, urged the public "not to worry when they
see security teams".

"People must provide the correct information and should keep the computerised national identity card of the head
of family," he said, adding that elected KP officials will work as volunteers alongside census enumerators because
the officials know their own areas well.

[Javed Khan from Peshawar contributed to this report.]

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7/24/2017 Pakistani census expected to impact politics, power


Syed Muhammad Moyeed Sarwar | 03-24-2017

Millions of pakistany who are working in middle east and other places of the world. There name is not counting
in census. They have gone abroad with family or without family only for job. They visit pakistan every yeay or
after two years. Their name should be written/ added in census otherwise correct population shall njot reflect in

2017-17-03 |

Afghan refugees settled in Baluchistan have no right to vote; Afghans have exploited Baloch hospitality. Afghans,
especially Mehmood Achakzai, who himself is a refugee Afghani, are planning to change vote bank in
Baluchistan by implanting 6 million Afghans in Baluchistan. But 6 million Afghans are not acceptable they
should immediately return to Afghanistan or KPK, where all Afghans are settled. Balochs have been enough
hospitable, now these 6 million Afghans along with Mehmood Achakzai should thank Baloch nation by going
back to Afghanistan.

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