The Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday authorised the deployment of upto 200,000 troops to support the often delayed national population census, said a statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
The troops will be deployed while continuing other security responsibilities, added the ISPR statement.
The population census will yield statistics about internal migration, urbanisation, as well as rural and urban population across the country. The population data will be used for delimitation of the constituencies of the national and provincial assemblies, a requirement under the constitution.
In Pakistan, the first four censuses i.e., 1951, 1961, 1972 and 1981, were held on time by the Population Census Organisation, in collaboration with staff from the provincial governments.
The fifth census was due in 1991 and the House Listing Operation carried out in 1990 showed abnormal population growth in some parts of the country, which not be justified by normal demographic indicators.
Consequently, the government decided to postpone the 1991 census. Another effort was made in 1994, which could not mature due to pressure by from political and ethnic groups.
It was decided that the 1998 census would be held with the support of the armed forces, which was broadly accepted by all political parties and appreciated internally.
The sixth Population and Housing Census was due in 2008, but could not materialise due to the law and order situation in the country, a paucity of staff and financial constraints