Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Qam-ar Javed Bajwa has approved the deployment of up to 200,000 troops for forthcoming sixth national population census, said Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
According to the ISPR, the troops will be deployed while continuing other security responsibilities. The much-delayed national population census will provide statistics about internal migration, urbanisation, as well as rural and urban population across the country.
The population data will be used for delimitation of the constituencies of the national and provincial assemblies as per constitutional requirement. Earlier, Population Census Organisation, in collaboration with employees of provincial governments, organised first four census in 1951, 1961, 1972 and 1981.
The fifth census was due in 1991 and the house listing operation carried out in 1990 showed abnormal population growth in some parts of the country, which could not be justified by normal demographic indicators.
Consequently, the government decided to postpone the 1991 census. Another effort was made in 1994, which didn’t mature due to pressure by from political and ethnic groups.
It was decided that the 1998 census would be held with the support of the armed forces, which was broadly accepted by all political parties.
The sixth Population and Housing Census was due in 2008, but could not be held due to the law and order situation in the country, shortage of staff and financial constraints.