Pakistan’s Council of Common Interests approved work on the seventh population and housing census. A pilot of the digital process will be conducted in May, and the full-fledged census will begin in August and be completed in one month. Final results are scheduled to be announced by December in time for the 2023 election polls.

Zeba Sathar, Population Council senior associate and Pakistan country director, shares perspectives on the “hasty census exercise” in a commentary published in Dawn.

“If the purpose of the census apart from creating electoral counts is to plan for and judiciously distribute services and resources and ensure rights, it has to be based on the correct count of everyone who lives in Pakistani territory, regardless of gender, age, origin, ethnicity, or differently abled status, and on the basis of where people reside. Serious attempts are being made to measure disability and migration status, largely missed in 2017. A weakness of the 2017 census was the use of outdated administrative urban definitions which led to an undercount of urban territories. The 2022 census must adopt a more meaningful measure for urban classification to be credible.”

Read more in Dawn.