IBA Held a Jang Forum on Karachi's Population and Census Results
'From every household in Sindh, one member has not been counted from the total household count' Dr. Mehtab
September 18: IBA Karachi hosted a Jang Forum on 'Karachi's Population and Census Results' with the following speakers:
- Dr. Mehtab S Karim (PhD in Demography from Cornell University. Vice Chancellor, Malir University of Science & Technology)
- Dr. Huma Baqai (Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences, IBA)
Dr. Mehtab S Karim has earlier worked at Pew Research Center, Washington DC; the Aga Khan University, Karachi; Princeton University, USA; London School of Economics, UK; Johns Hopkins University; East-West Center, Hawaii and Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad. He has also worked as a research professor at the School of Public Policy, George Mason University (GMU).
The forum was hosted by Mr. Akram Khan (Editor Jang Forum, Karachi). The forum shed light on where we stand in the matter of census in Pakistan. Census effects the provinces in a way that, the total population count determines the allocation of resources, allocation of seat in the assembly/members in parliament and the allocation of natural resources like water, gas and electricity. The demographic data plays an important role in shedding light on it.
The two eminent members in the discussion elaborated on the importance of demographic data, which helps in understanding demographic relationships between health, economic, social and environmental issues by a country, its regions and sub-regions.
Last census held in Pakistan was conducted 19 years back in 1998. Such a long gap makes people have serious reservations about the credibility of the recent census. Almost all provinces are unhappy that this census does not reflect a true picture of the existing demographics. In Sindh, political parties such as MQM and PPP have their own reservations and are unhappy with the numbers presented in the census.
Pakistan's population has increased by 57% and for Karachi it has increased by 59% according to the census. Improper counting in census makes Sindh feel neglected once again because false numbers mean less facilities for the people. Dr. Huma said, 'No city has grown more than Karachi in terms of population in the last few years and Sindh has been short changed once again. Discrepancies in census data leads to wrong statistical analysis that hampers appropriate planning and development of one of the main cities in Pakistan.
Dr. Mehtab explained that the census is not a new concept and its history dates back to the Roman Empire. A census for social benefits was introduced in Hazrat Umer's government and it was introduced in British India in 1881. It is the responsibility of government and concerned authorities to take appropriate measures and ensure the credibility of census.
Towards the end of this insightful session, students asked various pertinent questions that demanded for a solution. Dr. Mehtab suggested that internationally surveys are held to report or evaluate the outcomes of census and Pakistan should adopt the same policy. The session ended with a round of applause for our esteemed speakers for their contribution in enlightening students with the current issues of Pakistan.