Census at last

After a long wait, the 6th Housing and Population Census has begun and President Mamnoon Hussain formally launched the exercise by filling the Census form in Karachi. The process would be completed in two phases — about half of the country to be covered in the first phase and the rest including some restive tribal agencies in the second phase.
The actual conduct of Census would surely take care of longstanding demand of the provinces that had been eagerly waiting to know their real population figures that matter much for distribution of resources from the federal divisible pool as well as representation in elected bodies. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has rightly pointed out that conducting a transparent Census was a national effort, which could only be successful with the cooperation and support of all concerned. However, in view of involvement of vested interests, it is most likely that disputes and differences would emerge at different stages and at different places especially in areas where some particular communities have their own notions about population figures and might try to thrust these notional figures into official records. Some quarters are already expressing apprehension that the census might not reflect actual figures in some areas because of migration and temporary displacements. However, we must bear in mind that those residing in a particular area and consuming its resources and benefiting from civic amenities should be counted there and not to areas of their mother tongue. The demand for waiving of condition of CNIC would pave the way for floodgate bogus entries, rendering the entire exercise as a joke. Entry of the CNIC of family head means the family would not be repeated in the count but absence of the CNIC could encourage people to establish their presence in more than one place. It is duty of all Pakistanis not to resort to any demand or measure that could compromise credibility of the Census and instead extend a helping hand to authorities concerned to make the campaign a success.