The Council of Common Interest (CCI) has decided to conduct population census in two phases from March 2017 after the Supreme Court took strong exception to government’s overt reluctance.
Though a number of other items were on the agenda of the CCI convened by the Prime Minister, the meeting approved Pakistan Bureau of Statistics’ (PBS) proposal to carry out population census from March 15, 2017, as directed by the apex court.
The last population census was conducted in 1998 and the current one has been pending for the last eight years.
The meeting of the CCI chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and attended by all the chief ministers also agreed that house listings and census operation may be carried out together in two phases in all the provinces simultaneously.
Census will be carried out in close co-ordination with provincial governments and a committee of secretary PBS as well as four chief secretaries will be formed to address all the issues pertaining to implementation.
Sources said a proposal of Finance Division with respect to establishment of National Security Fund with an allocation from divisible pool was deferred to be discussed by National Finance Commission as consensus could not be developed due to disagreement among provinces.
The meeting decided that NFC meeting was the competent forum for taking any decision on it. The CCI approved National Forest Policy, only in principle, and directed the minister of climate change to take the provinces on board by telling them that the proposed policy will not encroach upon their powers.
The CCI, however, was informed that proposed National Forest Policy will enable the federal government to provide technical and financial assistance to the provincial governments in line with their own provincial policy framework and will ensure compliance of international conventions.
The CCI approved payment of net hydel profit of Rs 82.7 billion to the government of Punjab. The meeting decided to settle Rs 38.12 billion by issuance of irrevocable promissory note for the period of one year duration to the provincial government by December 2016.
The remaining balance of Rs 44.59 billion will be paid in three equal instalments after a tariff determination by the Nepra.
The meeting was attended by Pir Syed Sadaruddin Shah Rashidi, Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and HRD, Lieutenant General Abdul Qadir Baloch (Retd), Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions, Sardar Muhammad Yousaf, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony.
Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak, and Chief Minister Balcohsitan Sanaullah Khan Zehri also attended the meeting.