Pakistan’s population has now exceeded 249.5 million, as revealed by the preliminary results of the country’s seventh digital census. The announcement was made by the Chief Census Commissioner, Naeem Zafar, who stated that these initial figures were provisional and that the final population count would be disclosed in late June.
The current population data indicates that Pakistan has 249,566,743 residents. A breakdown of the numbers shows Punjab is the most populous province, housing 127,474,802 people, followed by Sindh with a population of 57,931,907. Balochistan and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) have populations of 21,977,474 and 2,359,422, respectively.
Zafar assured that the data-collection phase for the household census would end by Monday evening, adding that there were no reported complaints about the census system itself. He lauded the role of the armed forces, who had been instrumental in ensuring the security of the census teams throughout the process.
Responding to allegations of population under-reporting, Zafar noted that the census deadline had been extended five times, leading to an additional 1.7 million people being accounted for. Despite receiving over 200,000 complaints about the census data, Zafar confirmed that all but a few hundred had been addressed.
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The cost of this comprehensive census process exceeded Rs34 billion. The need for a re-census only five years after the previous one, instead of the customary 10 years, was due to the rejection of the 2017 census results.
In reference to the objections raised by political parties, the Chief Census Commissioner underlined that these were linked to political matters and seat distribution. He encouraged a wider perspective, cautioning against seeing everything through a political lens.
Zafar also confirmed that census operations were conducted in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. However, areas affected by heavy snowfall were excluded from the census field operation. Consequently, the respective governments were asked to decide on a suitable time to conduct the census operations in the affected 129 blocks of AJK, 80 blocks of G-B, and 16 blocks of Mansehra.