ISLAMABAD (Staff Report) – The Council of Common Interest (CCI ) was Friday informed that due to non-availability of required number of troops the population census 2016 could not be held at this stage while phased census was also not possible due to certain flaws in the procedures.

A meeting of the Council of Common Interests was held in Islamabad with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the chair. Chief Ministers of all the four provinces attended the meeting.

Secretary Pakistan Bereau of Statistics (PBS) told the meeting that in continuation of decision taken in previous CCI meeting held on February 29, 2016 series of meetings were held with provincial governments and armed forces. Due to engagement of Armed forces in operations of shawal valley and Zarb-e-Azb the required number of troops cannot be spared at this stage, he said.

“Since transparency of Census operation was vital for future planning, about 300,000 troops are required to ensure man to man coverage as well as to lend credibility and security to census operation,” he explained.

Responding to query about phased population census, the officials told CCI that phased census was non-desirable due to inherent flaws and in any case phased census was not in line with international best practices particularly keeping in view some specific factors related to Pakistan which can raise serious contentions on the credibility of the exercise.

It was, therefore , unanimously decided that census shall be postponed and a new date may be finalised in due course in consultation with provincial governments and Armed forces.

The Council of Common Interests also discussed the road map of national strategy for prevention of floods in the country.