As a result of its inability to secure “foreign-source procurements” due to the “prevailing economic crisis,” the government officially stated on Monday that the seventh population and housing census would be postponed by four months.
The announcement’s timing, which coincides with the PTI’s “Azadi March” calling for immediate elections to end the nation’s political unrest, would undoubtedly cause a stir throughout the political spectrum.
The choice was made on Monday during a meeting of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, which was presided over by Ahsan Iqbal, the minister of planning.
According to a statement released by the Ministry of Planning, Iqbal instructed the PBS to present a new report to the Council of Common Interests (CCI) and the Prime Minister Office with a new timeframe for the 7th Digital Census 2022.
The government has changed the dates for the 7th housing and population census to February 1–March 4, 2023. The field surveys were originally scheduled to take place from October 15 to November 15.
The declaration was made after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf exerted pressure on the ruling class to accede to its demand for immediate elections. On Monday, its employees obstructed major thoroughfares and roadways, severely hindering commuters, many of whom had nothing to do with the PTI and PML-politics. N’s
The PBS chief informed the minister that an early summary had been presented following an agreement with NADRA for the conduct of the census to take place from October 15, 2022, to November 15, 2022. The minister was informed of the population census’s current status.
The planning ministry states, “However, due to delay in opening of Letter of Credit due to the current economic circumstances, NADRA is unable to issue tablets.” Due to the low level of foreign exchange reserves, the central bank has placed limits on the opening of letters of credit.
According to the planning ministry, the schedules have been changed, and the fieldwork will now take place between February 1 and March 4, 2023. By April 30, 2023, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will receive the results of the post-enumeration survey for use in delimitation.
Constituency delineation will take the ECP at least three to four months, which will overlap with the end of the National Assembly’s five-year constitutional term in August of the following year.
After Sindh expressed severe qualms about the findings of the prior census and only reluctantly accepted them, Imran Khan’s last cabinet agreed to hold the next general elections on the basis of a new census.
The current cabinet, led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, also agreed with the previous cabinet’s choice and authorized a budget of Rs5 billion for the census last week.
According to the ministry, it was informed that all 126,000 of the required tablets for conducting the census digitally will be delivered in installments by December 2022 and that the census ERP (full software solutions) will be tested by October 15, 2022.