'Disabled will be counted, all data will be verified,' assures Asif Bajwa

Published March 17, 2017
Chief commissioner census Asif Bajwa — DawnNews
Chief commissioner census Asif Bajwa — DawnNews

Chief Census Commissioner Asif Bajwa said on Friday that three new data entry codes for disabled persons, whom the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered to be included in the ongoing count, have been communicated to enumeration officers all over Pakistan.

Bajwa was speaking at a press conference to address the most persistent concerns regarding the census, which kicked off on March 15.

On March 16, the SC had ordered the federal government and the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) to amend census forms to include persons with disabilities and transgender people in the headcount exercise which commenced a day earlier.

LHC Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah had observed that information regarding disability could be easily included in Form 2-A's Column No3, which pertains to “sex”, by assigning codes for disabled citizens.

"In the 'sex' column of the census form, three codes were previously allotted: '1' was for male, '2' was for female and '3' was for transgender residents. On the orders of the Supreme Court, '4' for disabled man, '5' for disabled woman and '6' for disabled transgender person have been added to the code sequence," Bajwa explained during the conference.

The commissioner reiterated that all enumeration officers have been informed of these new instructions.

Addressing other concerns regarding the census, Asif Bajwa said no house would be left unmarked in the 'house counting' part of the census exercuse. He also clarified that if any apartment has been left out of the count, the owners should immediately inform the census board.

"However, some multistorey houses have been marked only once, even if multiple families reside there, as this is currently the 'house-count' process and not the head-count process," Bajwa further clarified.

"Military personnel accompanying civilian enumerators are also filling up enumeration forms, so that the numbers can be compared and there is no margin of error," the chief commissioner explained.

Responding to an incident where an enumerator was found using a pencil to fill a form rather than the prescribed ballpoint pen, the commissioner said that this was a singular incident and the enumerator using a pencil was questioned, whereing she clarified that she was only using the pencil to ensure that no errors were made in the form. "We told her to stop and use only the prescribed stationary," Bajwa added.

Discussing an incident of robbery where the perpetrators allegedly claimed to be census officers, Bajwa said: "The incident is unfortunate, but anyone one letting census officers into their home should check their allotted identification cards and make sure that they are wearing the green jackets prescribed to census officers."

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