Urban planners question census methods  

The urban planners have raised questions over the country’s fiver-ever digital census, saying the institutions failed to build confidence among the masses.

“People do not trust census because of ethnic and political confrontations,” said senior urban planner and chairman of the Urban Resource Center (URC) Arif Hasan.

Speaking in a meeting titled ‘Results of Census: A review’ at the URC office, Hasan said that it was not possible to have the exact census and the issues the country was facing. “The census and issues related to it should be discussed because the census highlights social change,” he explained.

Dr Asim Bashir, a sociologist and demographist, that it was not possible to compare the data of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).

He also raised questions over the 2017 census, saying the growth rate of Karachi city and the rest of the province was similar. He said that the recent census’ results in Balochistan showed the average growth rate was nine per cent.

Muhammad Toheed, the senior urban planner and associate director of the Karachi Urban Lab, said that it was the responsibility of the government to engage the public so they could understand the value of the census. “The awareness increases public participation,” he maintained.

Toheed said that: “it is not just a political issue but it supports to plan accordingly.” He also criticized the census exercise carried out during the holy month of Ramzan. He said several questioned and pointed out how the undercount was a serious issue in a city like Karachi.

He also criticized the questionnaires, saying they were not up to the standards.

The urban planners also said that they did not know who actually make questions. “Try to find it who makes it and you will understand the real issues behind it,” Hasan smiled.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2023.