Before analyzing the poll result, it is important to understand the significance of the sixth census. Though efforts were made in 2008 and 2010 to hold the census, however, the deteriorating law and order proved to be the impeding factors, among others. The sixth census officially began on 15 March 2017 after the break of nineteen years, which would survey the demographics changes in order to reorganize the country in the political, economic and social aspects.
The Center for Pakistan and Gulf Studies generated an online poll to assess public opinion on the implication of the sixth census. According to the result of this poll, 73.68 percent of the participants seem optimistic about the census and its role in regulating the unregistered populations in addition to alleviating the law and order across the country. However, 10.53 appear to disagree with the estimated benefits or expected goals of the census and 15.78 percent of the respondents showed reluctance to give an opinion.
Bearing in mind, the primary purpose is to count the number of people in order to assess the future growth and formulate the development policies. However, if one delves deeper, the implications are more than the reported possibilities. As the political representation and resources allocations are based on the accurate statistics. This means that if the census is done in accordance with the standards, it could prove to be a source of national cohesion for the federation of Pakistan. The relation of the census with the law and order situation may not be direct, however, the absence of good socioeconomic indicators are directly responsible for not only aggravating the grievances of the people, but the unregistered population is likely to get involved in criminal activities, in addition to the resurging terrorist attacks.
The concern of national political parties is another factor which needs to be addressed by the government. For instance, the displacement of the Baloch and Pushtun population to relatively secure provinces of the Pakistan is viewed as matter reservations due to the demographic shift of the provinces. Similarly, a large segment of the population does not have the computerized national identity cards (CNIC) in Sindh and other provinces. Additionally, the impact of the census on the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award and the redistribution of the elected seats are significant issues.
Nevertheless, the challenges for the transparency and accuracy of the national census may threaten the process of accomplishing the desired goals. Hence, the weaknesses of the census and concerns of the national political parties should be taken into consideration.
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