Ensure credibility of next census

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WHETHER these are election results or that of census, our political parties are always quick to raise question mark on their transparency and credibility for their own vested interests.

The same unfortunately has happened with the results of the last census held in 2017 after a gap of nineteen years.

Addressing a news conference in Karachi on Saturday, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said the next general elections would be held as per new census, claiming that PTI government is consulting all stakeholders on the matter adding that after approval by the Council of Common Interests (CCI) the census would be completed in eighteen months.

While taking a lesson from the past and keeping in view the sensitivity of the matter and its long term ramifications, it is imperative to involve all stakeholders especially the provinces in the entire process from start to the end, from planning to compilation of census results to avoid any qualms, ensuring results are acceptable to all.

Best international practices and latest technology be used to ensure transparency and credibility of the exercise so that nobody again could raise reservations on the new findings.

Opinion of experts and demographers can also be sought on it besides impartial and international observers should be allowed to review the whole exercise.

As PTI government has decided to conduct the new census, there should not be any delay in it and the process be completed within the given period after completion of all arrangements as this will be followed by delimitation of constituencies to conduct the next general elections.

In our view, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics needs to work in close coordination with National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for smooth conduct of this exercise.

At the same time, efforts must also be made to address genuine concerns on the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the next general elections.

While government appears determined to use technology in the polls, the opposition is strongly against it. Both the sides need to sit together to evolve consensus on the matter.

 

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