Digital Census: Pakistan registers record 249.5 million population

— Population sees significant rise of 49 million in overall headcount

— Punjab remains most populous province, followed by Sindh, KP & Balochistan

ISLAMABAD: In a groundbreaking announcement, the Chief Census Commissioner and Chief Statistician of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), Naeemuz Zafar, revealed the initial results of the seventh national and first-ever digital population census.

During a press conference, the Census Commissioner unveiled that Pakistan’s total population has now reached an impressive 249,566,743 individuals, which translates to approximately 249.5 million or around 25 Crore people.

Breaking down the population figures by province, it was found that Punjab remains the most populous province with a staggering population exceeding 127,474,000 individuals, equivalent to approximately 127.4 million or around 12.7 Crore people. Following closely behind is Sindh, with a population surpassing 57,931,000 individuals, approximately 57.9 million or around 5.7 Crore people.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on the other hand, recorded a population of over 39,823,000 individuals, approximately 39.7 million or around 3.9 Crore people. Balochistan, the largest province in terms of area, registered a population of over 21,977,000 individuals, approximately 21.9 million or around 2.1 Crore people. Meanwhile, the federal capital, Islamabad, reported a population of 2,359,422 individuals, approximately 2.3 million or around 23 lac people.

The Census Commissioner also highlighted that Pakistan’s population has experienced a significant increase of 49 million individuals (4.9 Crore) since the last census, indicating a substantial growth rate.

Regarding the cost of conducting the first-ever digital census, the Census Commissioner disclosed that it required a substantial investment of over Rs. 34 billion from the national exchequer.

The PBS expressed deep appreciation to the field staff, citizens, and stakeholders, including provincial governments, the Government of Gilgit Baltistan, the Azad State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistani Army, NADRA, SUPARCO, NTISB, and NTC, for their unwavering support and facilitation throughout the census process.

While the census field operations officially concluded on May 15th, access to tablets remained open for specified districts until May 22nd, 2023, to ensure complete coverage as per the decision of the Chief Minister’s Committee (CMC). However, all services provided at the province, district, and tehsil levels, such as monitoring dashboards and tablet data entry, were closed by midnight on May 22nd, 2023.

In accordance with the directions of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the verification process will be carried out by the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and Assistant Commissioners (ACs) until May 30th, 2023. They will manually collect data on any non-coverage areas, if applicable.

Complaints regarding non-coverage can be lodged at the Census Support Center (CSC) by the DCs/ACs and PBS Call Centers, subject to providing the National Identity Card (NIC) number. Such complaints will be addressed and resolved by May 30th, 2023.

The retrieval of tablets at the Census Support Center (CSC) will commence on May 24th, 2023, after the synchronization of any remaining data. The headcount data of restricted areas and collective residences will be incorporated into the population counts of the respective blocks.

All Census District Officers will provide completion certificates, and payments to the census field staff will be made by the DCs/ACs upon the provision of the completion certificate.

A Demographers Committee will meticulously analyze the census data using demographic techniques and subsequently finalize its recommendations for the consideration of the Chief Minister’s Committee (CMC).

The respective governments have been requested to indicate appropriate times for field census operations in snow-bound areas, which include 129 blocks of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), 80 blocks of Gilgit Baltistan (GB), and 16 blocks of Mansehra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Furthermore, the provincial governments have been asked to indicate suitable times for census field operations in 57 blocks of Rojhan, Punjab, and 11 blocks of Ghotki, Sindh, which have been affected by law and order issues.

Lastly, the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has been urged to indicate an appropriate time for census field operations in Kohistan after formulating a comprehensive strategy.

The results of Pakistan’s first-ever digital population census mark a significant milestone in the country’s demographic record. This comprehensive data will play a vital role in shaping policies, resource allocation, and development plans for years to come.

Ghulam Abbas
Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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