ISLAMABAD: The national census has been rescheduled by consensus in the 28th meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif due to security concerns as the required numbers of troops are not available at the moment.

The CCI, in its first meeting in nearly a year, was expected to approve a revised action plan for the population and housing census. In a statement issued by the Prime Minister office after the CCI meeting today, the committee has proposed rescheduling the census, originally planned for March 2016.

A new date will be given after consultations with stakeholders, according to the Prime Minister's Office.

Read: Census may be put off for a few months, Senate told

Earlier, an official told Dawn that the revised action plan would seek more time from the CCI to hold the census. “It will be delayed by a few weeks,” the source said, adding that preparations for the grand survey were well under way.

But another official claimed that the exercise could be delayed until summer, when staff from the education department would be on vacation.

The first census in Pakistan was conducted in 1951, the second in 1961 and the third in 1972 instead of 1971 due to political turmoil. The fourth census was held in March 1981 and the fifth, which was due in 1991, was conducted in March 1998 with the help of the Army.

Census is deemed to be one of the basic elements for judicious distribution of resources, representation in parliament, electoral processes, tax collection and other civic issues, including growing urbanisation and evaluation of resources for infrastructure development.

Under the Constitution, the government is bound to conduct the population census after every 10 years.

Also read: Delayed census

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