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ISLAMABAD: The Council of Common Interests (CCI) on Friday deferred until after general elections the approval of final results of the 2017 National Census without post-enumeration audit of five per cent census blocks.

Informed sources told Dawn that the CCI meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, briefly discussed the issue. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah told the meeting that since two other chief ministers — from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab — were not present, it would not be appropriate to rush through the process.

According to the sources, another participant said since two provincial assemblies — Sindh and KP — would stand dissolved on Monday, it would be more logical that a reconstituted CCI, after the coming elections, should take a final decision on the census results.

It was also highlighted that the CCI had approved provisional results of the census on the basis of which the parliament had made changes in the law to facilitate the election commission for the coming polls. Moreover, since the final results are not materially different from the provisional results, the CCI should not touch an issue that may affect elections.

Therefore, it was decided to defer action on the summary submitted by the Statistics Division for approval of the final results of the sixth census that have put the country’s population at 207.685 million, down by 68,738 (0.033pc) from 207.77m announced in the provisional results in August last year.

Absence of two CMs contributed to the delay

The average annual population growth rate between 1998 and 2017 remains unchanged at 2.4pc. The population count stood at 132.352m when the previous census was conducted in 1998.

The decrease in population count in the final results is almost identical in absolute numbers in Sindh (16,737), Punjab (16,435) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (14,451), followed by Balochistan’s 9,279. The final count has also dropped by 8,632 persons in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and by 3,204 in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

The data regarding Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan has not been made public or shown to the CCI even though census was conducted in these regions with other parts of Pakistan simultaneously.

The final data puts Punjab’s population at 109.989m, followed by 47,855m in Sindh, 30.509m in KP and 12.335m in Balochistan. Fata’s population has been reported at 4.993m and that of the ICT at 2.003m.

The population growth rate is highest at 4.9pc in the ICT, followed by 3.37pc in Balochistan, 2.89pc in KP and 2.41pc in Sindh. The lowest growth has been witnessed at 2.13pc in Punjab compared to 2.4pc in Fata.

As such, the share of population among provinces also has changed over the last 19 years that would have far reaching consequence on resource sharing and parliamentary representation.

Punjab’s share in overall population has dropped the most from 55.63pc in 1998 to 52.96 (a loss of 2.67pc), while KP’s share has gained the most to 14.69 from 13.41pc, up by 1.28pc. Balochistan’s share has also increased (by almost 1pc) to 5.94pc from 4.96pc.

A minor increase has also been noticed in the population share of Sindh at 23.4pc compared to previous share of 23pc. Fata’s share has remained unchanged at 2.4pc while the ICT’s share has increased to 0.96pc from 0.61pc in 1998.

Language

Data about the population distribution by mother tongue that was missing from the provincial results has made it to the final census results. Here, perhaps the most interesting finding is declining gap between Pushto and Balochi speaking populations in Balochistan that stand at 35.34pc and 35.49pc, respectively.

As much as 4.56pc people in the country’s largest province by area reported Sindhi as mother tongue, followed by 1.13pc Punjabi and 0.81pc Urdu. Also, 17.12pc were reported as Brohi speaking in Balochistan, 2.65pc Seraiki and Hindko and Kashmiri with 0.28pc and 0.14pc, respectively.

Equally interesting is the fact that 38.78pc people reported Punjabi as their mother language when seen in the context of more than 52pc of the country’s population in Punjab. As such, Punjabi turned out to be the largest mother tongue. About 69.67pc people living in Punjab reported Punjabi as their mother tongue followed by 20.68pc Seraiki while 4.87pc reported Urdu, 1.98pc Pushto, 0.83pc Balochi and 0.15pc Sindhi as their mother tongue.

On the national level, Pushto stood second with 18.24pc population reporting it as mother tongue, followed by 14.57pc of Sindhi, 12.19pc of Seraiki, 7.08pc of Urdu and 3.02pc of Balochi. About 2.24pc share belongs to Hindko, 1.24pc to Brohi and 0.17pc to Kashmiri.

About 76.86pc population in KP reported Pushto as mother tongue, followed by 11.48pc Hindko and 3.72pc Seraiki. Just 0.9pc reported Urdu as mother tongue and 0.54pc as Punjabi, 0.09pc people were categorised in Sindhi mother tongue and 0.08pc in Balochi.

Sindh shows even more interesting results in terms of mother tongue where Sindhi has emerged as mother language of 61.6pc population, followed by 18.2pc Urdu, 5.46pc Pushto, 5.31pc Punjabi, 2.23pc Seraiki and 2pc Balochi.

In the ICT, 52.27pc population reported Punjabi as mother tongue, 18.5pc Pushto, 12.23pc Urdu, 6.4pc Hindko, 2.1pc Kashmiri, 2.12pc Seraiki, 0.77pc Sindhi and 0.15pc Balochi. In Fata, 98.4pc had Pushto as mother tongue, followed by 0.49pc Urdu, 0.28pc Punjabi, 0.10pc Sindhi and 0.08pc Balochi.

Gender

The final results show that the gender gap though declining still remains a challenge. The number of male population per 100 female has been reported at 104.91, down from 108.5 in 1998 and 110.6 in 1981.

The gap in gender ratio is more profound in Balochistan and the ICT where 110.8 males have been reported against 100 female, followed by 108.3 in Sindh, 104.5 in Fata, 103.4 in Punjab and 102.5 in KP.

As such, the final census results put the number of male population at 106.3m compared to 101.3m female and 21,700 transgender among the national population of 207.68m.

In Punjab, male population has been put at 55.9m compared to 54m female and 12,400 transgender. Sindh’s male population has been recorded at 24.8m compared to 22.9m female and 5,900 transgender. KP’s male and female population stands at 15.4m and 15m, respectively, and 1,900 transgender. Male and female population in Balochistan has been recorded at 6.4m and 5.8m and that of transgender at 780.

Urban / rural divide

The final results show 63.56pc population living in rural areas compared to 32.5pc in urban areas. In Punjab, the urban and rural population stand at 36.86pc and 63.14pc, respectively. The urban population in KP stands at 18.8pc, Sindh at 51.92pc, Balochistan 27.62pc, the ICT 50.37pc and Fata 2.8pc. In contrast, rural population in KP stands at 81.2pc, Sindh’s at 48.08pc, Balochistan at 72.38pc, the ICT at 49.63pc and Fata 97.2pc.

Literacy

The literacy rate at the national level has been reported at 58.92pc. The highest literacy rate of 81.49pc has been reported in ICT, followed by 64.01pc in Punjab, 54.57pc in Sindh, 54.02pc in KP, 43.58pc in Balochistan and 36.08pc in Fata.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2018