Pakistan’s census in 2023 to be digital for first time

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Pakistan’s Census in 2023 is going to be digital for the first time ever in the country’s history. All the preparations are rolled out and the team is now ready for a gigantic task. The effort is entirely indigenous; all the systems devised and the tools created are by our own experts, enunciated Naeem uz Zafar, Chief Statistician, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), proudly. He was addressing a hybrid seminar, themed “Census 2023: All You Want to Know About”, at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) Islamabad.

He shared that census is an important national activity that is linked with resource allocation to provinces, representation in National/Provincial assemblies and the delimitation process. Therefore, the credibility of census is of utmost importance. This is what called for comprehensive introspection leading to a solution acceptable to all – digital census.

He apprised the audience that after the results of the latest Census 2017 were approved in 45th CCI meeting held on 12th April, 2021, the Council of Common Interests (CCI) gave directions for the next census to start as early as possible and should be according to international best practices by using the latest technology. The Government of Pakistan then constituted a committee of renowned demographers and experts with comprehensive TORS, to bring transparency, credibility and wider acceptability of census processes and results. For this a board-based stakeholders’ engagement was carried out in order to have ownership of the process.

Earlier in his opening remarks Dr. Nadeem ul Haque, Vice Chancellor PIDE said that the Censuses remain controversial in Pakistan, at times delayed for over a decade. Now that we are moving towards the new Census, it is time to raise all the concerns and questions we have. Speaking on the occasion Dr. Naeem uz Zafar said that following UN Guidelines and detailed deliberations of the Committee, it was decided that there ought to be clarity regarding the primary objectives of census – policy and planning.