Pakistan kicks off first census in 19 years

PESHAWAR: Pakistan on Wednesday launched its first census in nearly two decades, with security high as thousands of enumerators backed by the military began the enormous, politically-charged count.
The weeks-long process, a challenge in a country known for corruption and dysfunction, will deploy a team of more than 300,000 people and involve 55 million forms — as well as a second, separate form distributed by the military.
“It’s a very hectic process, but we are ready for it,” Nadeem Ehsan, a teacher clad in a green Pakistan Census 2017 jacket in the northwestern city of Peshawar, said.
“We had some reservations about security initially but we were assured about it by the government,” he added, describing the process as a “noble cause”.
Fast-growing Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, with an estimated 200 million people, but has not held a census since 1998 due to years of bickering between politicians.
The count could redraw the political map as the country gears up for a national election next year — a prospect that has raised fears over power bases and federal funding. — AFP

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