The first phase of the sixth national population and housing census will begin in 63 districts across the country from Wednesday after 19 years.
The first phase will cover 15 districts of Punjab, 15 districts of Balochistan, 14 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, eight districts of Sindh, five districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan each and one district of Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
House count will be carried out on first three days, i.e. March 15-18, followed by head count that will be conducted daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. till April 15.
Punjab Chief Statistician Arif Anwar officially inaugurated the census by inscribing 001 on Punjab Assembly’s building and was accompanied by Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Sher Ali Gorchani.
The districts of Punjab to be covered in the first phase include Lahore, Faisalabad, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Jhang, Chiniot, Rajanpur, Layyah, Toba Tek Singh, Narowal, Hafizabad, Vehari, Sialkot, Pakpattan, Bahawalpur and Attock.
Those of Sindh include Ghotki, Hyderabad, Karachi Central, Karachi East Korangi, Karachi South and Karachi West, districts Peshawar, Swabi, Mardan, Nowshera, Charsadda, Dera Ismail khan, Laki Marwat, Abbotabad, Hangu, Mansehra, Haripur, Turghar and Battgram of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and districts Quetta, Awaran, Dera Bugti, Lasbela, Musakhel, Kohlu, Kharan, Washuq, Jafarabad, Kalat, Pishin, Naseerabad, Lehri and Noshki of Balochistan.
Census Assistant Commissioner Abdul Naveed stated that around 4,900 Pakistan Army personnel and an equal number pf civilians will participate in the process and will fill out separate forms. While Army will maintain the data received on daily basis, control rooms have also been set up in District Commissioners’ offices for continuous monitoring.
The second phase will commence from April 25 to May 25 and will cover 21 districts each of Punjab and Sindh, 18 of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 17 of Balochistan, five districts each of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan and Islamabad Capital Territory.
Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has clarified that Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) of head of each family or that of any responsible person is a prerequisite to ensure authenticity of data being obtained for the census but families can provide any other forms of identification to prove their identities in case they do not have CNIC.