Pakistan’s Bureau of Statistics recently launched the seventh digital census, and the self-enumeration portal received four million clicks from people in just a few days. While the field enumeration will begin on March 1, the self-enumeration option will continue until March 3. This digital census is the first of its kind in South Asia, and PBS member Sarwar Gondal stated that the response from people has been overwhelmingly positive. However, he acknowledged that some minor issues have been reported, which have been communicated to the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), responsible for the technology solutions behind the census.
Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad, Gondal shared that the digital census marks a historic moment for Pakistan, and he expressed pride in the active participation of the people and the support of stakeholders. While some minor issues have been reported, Gondal was grateful for the positive feedback, which is helping NADRA improve its systems.
Responding to concerns raised by some quarters in Sindh, particularly Karachi and Balochistan, Gondal clarified that extensive consultations were held before the census with provincial stakeholders to explain the digital process. Any apprehensions being raised are due to a lack of understanding of what the census process entails, and PBS is engaging with stakeholders to clear all misunderstandings.
According to Gondal, the census is a national duty that informs policymaking, future planning, and development for the progress of the country. Participation in the census is mandatory, and providing reliable information is a civic duty for everyone living in Pakistan. He emphasized that spreading fake news or misinformation for any purpose is a criminal offense, and politicizing it or using it for agenda-setting is dishonesty to the country and its people.
The digitization of the census ensures transparency, accountability, and efficiency, and over 100,000 fully trained enumerators will use tablets to fill out the census information while visiting door-to-door and geo-tagging the structures. Gondal stated that the safety and security of data have been secured. With honesty and integrity, PBS is committed to fulfilling its main mandate and conducting the first-ever digital census to provide credible, transparent, and timely data for decision-making.