Population census in Pakistan
The census organization was established in 1950 as part and parcel of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The first three censuses were conducted by this organization while working under that Ministry. After the 1972 Census, Census Organization was established on a permanent footing. It was made an attached Ministry of Interior department to maintain expertise, experience, and continuity, which used to be lost after every Census, as was the case in 1951 and 1961. With the creation of the Registration organization in 1973, as an attached department of the Ministry of Interior and also headed by the Census Commissioner, both the departments were merged in 1976 to be called “Census & Registration Organization.” In March 1978, the “Census & Registration Organization” was split into two separate departments. Population Census Organization was placed under the Statistics Division, which remains as such after that due to the promulgation of the General Statistics (Re-organization) Act, 2011. The conduct of the Census is the responsibility of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
The Population Census Wing’s primary functions are Planning and executing the decennial Population & Housing Census. It includes the processing and disseminating of data in the form of Census Reports. Analysis of census data and demographic research, and evaluation of census results are also core functions. It also includes intercensal sample studies/surveys in related areas, supply of census data to the data users, and tabulation of data to meet specific demands of data users.
The Census (Population & Housing) is a Federal subject listed at Sl. No. 38 of Federal Legislation list, Part-1, Fourth Schedule, as per the constitution of Pakistan. The seats in the National Assembly are allocated to each Province/FATA, and Federal Territory based on the population per the last preceding Census officially published under Article 51 (3) of the Constitution. Further, the distribution of funds between the Federation and the Provinces through the National Finance Commission depends upon the census. Article 160 (2) speaks about the formation of the National Finance Commission, which also uses census figures. The quota for recruitment to Federal posts is also worked out based on population ratios given by the Census. Establishment Division’s O.M. No. 8/9/72, TRV, dated 31st August 1973, refers to this vital transaction. The first 5 censuses were undertaken with the legal cover of the Census Ordinance, 1959, amended from time to time. The 6th Population and Housing Census will be conducted under the legal body of the General Statistics (Re-organization) Act, 2011.
Hence, the Census is a scientific database organizational activity. Pakistan is a multi-ethnic and linguistic federation. Nevertheless, the orientation of the Federation is complex and intricate. Therefore, there are particular sensitivities around the process of the Census. Therefore, the Census in Pakistan has been a disputed case. The Census is the most effective exercise to have accurate data. All policies and laws are dependent upon the quality of the Census. Therefore, the interest of Pakistan needs to carry out consistent, transparent, and periodical Census.