CCI approves release of census-2017 data: Asad

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Says preparations for next census to start in October
our correspondent
ISLAMABAD
The Council of Common Interests (CCI) has approved the official release of the Census-2017 results which had been withheld for the last couple of years.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar confirmed the development, saying the census results have been approved with the consent of majority members except the Sindh government.
The decision was taken during a virtual meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) — a body that resolves the disputes of power-sharing between the federation and provinces — with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair.
Asad Umar said that the majority of the provinces have agreed to accept the results of Census 2017 and officially publish them. “Since elections are held on the basis of the census, we will begin preparations for the next census in September or October this year,” Asad Umar said, adding that work on the basic structure of carrying out census will be completed within six to eight weeks.
“By the end of this year probably in September or November, the process to hold the new census will start and it will take around 18 months to complete,” he said. “Results of the new census will be made public by 2023… so that the delimitation process can take place before the general elections,” he added.
He added that for the upcoming census — which will take 18 months to complete — the government will use technology as well as the principles related to the census laid out by the United Nations.
Umar said the census is a very crucial task as elections and delimitations are held on its basis. “General Elections 2023 will be held on the basis of new census and delimitations,” he maintained.
The minister said there was no other way other than to approve the results of 2017 census results, which was rejected by many political parties including PPP and MQM-Pakistan, who allege manipulation and under-counting in the process. The minister said the government will take all measures to ensure transparency in the next census “as it is directly linked with national security”.
“We share the same reservations over the results as other provinces and parties including MQM-Pakistan, but we cannot rectify the results of the previous census,” he added. “Census is not any easy task, it is a big and expansive exercise,” said Umar, adding that a budget of Rs23 billion will be allocated for the new census.