Islamabad – Staff Reporter:
The Council of Common Interests (CCI) is scheduled to hold its 44th meeting on Wednesday (tomorrow) under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Imran Khan for taking a decision on issuance of notification for population census results.
There are several important issues, including matters that pertain to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in the post 18th Amendment scenario, which would also come under discussion as PM Imran, key federal ministers and four chief ministers would sit together in the constitutional body of CCI for taking crucial decisions. Some issues related to fiscal federalism would also come under discussion, including the much-awaited handing over of vertical programs of health and social welfare to the provinces in the aftermath of the 18th Constitutional Amendment and transferring major resources to the federating units under the 7th NFC Award.
The CCI is going to take up different agenda items but the most crucial one will be related to issuance of a notification for population census results held in 2017. Earlier, a ministerial committee was formed comprising Minister of Planning, Minister for IPC, Minister for Maritime Affairs, all provincial representatives, Attorney General for Pakistan and Secretary Planning.
Now this ministerial committee will table its recommendations before the CCI for taking a decision on this complex issue as there is no easy solution available to settle this matter. The census was held four years back in 2017 and holding sample surveys might provide no solution acceptable to all stakeholders.
After the census in 2017 when the PML-N was ruling the country, it was once decided to hold a sample survey in 3 to 5 percent areas in all the four provinces but it could not be materialised. Now the Statistics Division has been handed over to the Planning Ministry and Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) is averse to any decision on holding sample surveys after a four-year period because many realities in the same blocks might have changed and it would not be in line with international standards to conduct a survey after a long pause for verification purposes.
On the other hand, the government’s coalition party, especially MQM Pakistan, is demanding to scrap the census in urban areas of Sindh, especially in Karachi and Hyderabad, so there will be no easy way forward for the government