Census block count in full swing

KARACHI, Dec 29: The census commission has geared up the process of carving fresh census blocks — which is likely to affect delimitation — on a district basis in Karachi under the GPS and the GIS and soon fresh house listing will be carried out that is a mandatory exercise before a population census, said Sindh Census Commissioner Noor Muhammad Leghari.

Speaking to Dawn on Thursday, the census commissioner said work was being carried out under the Global Positioning System and the Geographic Information System, which would remain effective for a long time to come without any change in house census blocks and delimitations.

In Karachi, he said, the process had already been initiated from the North Nazimabad tehsil of District Central where eight teams were in the field and were likely to complete their work by Jan 2, 2012.

In reply to a question, he said that he had asked the relevant authorities to provide 100 teams so that work could be completed before initiation of a population census which was likely to begin in April 2012.

“Until house listing is completed, the sixth population census work is not possible,” he said.

He added that the schedule for starting a population census would be determined by a special meeting of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) with the one-point agenda of population census as was decided in the last CCI meeting held on Oct 26.

Mr Leghari said the fresh house listing had become necessary because the earlier exercise of house listing had certain errors. He explained that blocks were not unified, which resulted in confusion in delimitation work.

Explaining the use of GPS and GIS technologies in the field, the census commissioner said that by the GPS, a machine would identify the latitude and longitude of a location where a team was standing and on the basis of the mark by the machine, it would determine a street, its next prominent location such as a mosque, a graveyard or a school building for identification.

With the help of GIS, he added that a machine would prepare charts and graphs on the basis of GPS markings.

Asked if the process was only started in Karachi, the census commissioner said work was started a month back in the interior of the province. So far, census block work had already been completed in Shikarpur, Sukkur, Kashmore, Kandhkot, Jacobabad, Larkana and Nawabshah.

He added that census teams would enter Ghotki and Khairpur on Friday.

Electoral rolls

Mr Leghari said the preliminary electoral rolls would be prepared by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) on the basis of new block codes registered in house listing census of 2011. He added that the new block codes would soon be displayed inviting objections before finalising voters' list.

In reply to yet another question, he explained that since the previous house listing had some flaws, any electoral rolls if prepared on its basis would not be credible. In this situation, a fresh house census had become all the more necessary, he added.

The Election Commission of Pakistan says that the constituencies for elections to the national and provincial assemblies are to be delimited after every census under the Delimitation of Constituencies Act, 1974.

All constituencies are required to be delimited having regard to the distribution of population in geographically compact areas, existing boundaries of administrative units, facilities of communication, public convenience and other cognate factors to ensure homogeneity in the creation of constituencies.

All constituencies for the general seats are, as far as possible, equal in population.

The election commission, which for this purpose is called the delimitation commission, publishes a preliminary list of constituencies and invites representations thereon.

The commission after hearing and considering the representations, if any received by it, makes such amendments, alterations or modifications in the preliminary list as may be necessary. It then publishes in the official gazette the final report and the list of constituencies.

According to the final list of delimitation of constituencies in Karachi published in a 2002 notification on the basis of 1998 census, there are 20 national assembly and 42 provincial assembly seats in the city.

The district west has four national assembly (NA 239 — NA 242) and nine provincial assembly seats (PS 89 — PS 97). Similarly, the district central has five national assembly (NA 243 — NA 247) and 10 provincial assembly seats (PS 98 — PS 107). The district south has four national assembly (NA 248 — NA 251) and seven provincial assembly seats (PS 108 — PS 114). The district east has five national assembly (NA 252 — NA 256) and 12 provincial assembly seats (PS 115 — PS 126). In the Malir district, there are two national assembly (NA 257 — NA 258) and four provincial assembly seats (PS 127 — PS 130).

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