ISLAMABAD: In his appearance before a full house of Senate on Friday, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) Chief Census Commissioner Asif Bajwa rejected all allegations made against 2017 census results, maintaining that the entire populations of the respective areas had been counted and the population of no area had been understated.
Bajwa had appeared before a special committee of the Senate — comprising the whole house — to look into the allegations raised regarding the 2017 census.
He said that the entire population of Karachi and Lahore was counted according to the respective authorities’ records of computerised national identity cards and voter lists. He rejected entirely that there had been manipulations in the census results and that Karachi’s population had been understated.
He added that the results obtained from the census had also been verified by Pakistan Army through statistics recorded by it during the counting process. “There was no difference between the record of the government and the army,” he added.
Unsatisfied with Bajwa’s response, the Senate decided to summon the chairman of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for more information.
Senator Taj Haider raised an objection saying that he had obtained data on Karachi’s population from NADRA in 2013, which had been above 25.6 million individuals then, whereas it was recorded at slightly below 15 million in the current census. Bajwa, however, declined the objection, saying that he had spoken to NADRA authorities and they had refused to take ownership of the list the senator referred to.
The Senate recommended that data from three blocks should be verified again and urged Bajwa to speed up the process of compiling the census data.
A few senators from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) also handed written complaints about the census results to the commissioner and asked him to verify if they were justified.
Responding to a question about the number of migrations into the country since 1947, the commissioner apologised that he could not verify those figures, adding that he would be able to provide the number of foreigners residing in the country once the census results had been finalised.