History in the making is certainly something to write about, especially when it took around two decades to materialize. Though, more important than numbers is the volatile and ever changing social landscape of the country, that census 2017 would reveal. Census 2017 would be a stepping stone for Pakistan and would not only map the profile of our nation but would also prove critical in shaping its future realms. A collage of more working age, more educated and more urbanized population is definitely a certainty, changing the political dynamics of the country.

Deliberating on important national issues has become more of a hobby for our political elite, census 2017 is no different.  It is only the intervention of the apex court, forcing authorities to fulfill these constitutional obligations. The change in the political spectrum that census could validate is forcing political parties on adopting an apprehensive attitude towards a noble and apt cause. It is shameful to say the least, an issue that should be handled in an unbiased way. On the contrary though, apolitical is being drawn into the country’s already dwindling political scenario. It is crystal clear that without proper census one cannot determine the state of the economy and the society as a whole.

Pakistan’s changing demography is already evident as Pakistan is edging closer to the onerous position of the fifth most populous country. Internal migration, rural mobility and displaced populations would be manifested in the 2017 census, altering the ethnic, social and economic sphere of Pakistan.

Urbanization is one of the major factors determining the fate of political elite after the census. Large scale mobility, basically, can be seen as a catalyst behind urban growth in Pakistan. Punjab, rightly can be singled out to bear the major brunt of this persistent growth, however, other regions are not far away either.

Census would also shift the questions towards population ratios, for example does Punjab still enjoy that supremacy? The other highly sensitive issue is the ethnic change within provinces, especially for Balochistan and Sindh in particular. These changes in the demographics would then require an alteration in the highly contested NFC award and a reallocation of seats in the parliament of Pakistan. This should not be seen as anything less than igniting fire in the forest, in the backdrop of nonexistent political structure, presently reflecting the true radical demographic shift in our country.

However, strenuous task it may be, this is the need of the hour in providing a more realistic and workable picture of the country. Census could bring a revolution like shift in the dynamics of the country, not before opening a new political Pandora’s box. All these issues need to be handled amicably, not only for our democracy to work fluently, but also to strength our intuitions.  Census can be seen by many as a bitter pill to swallow, for a brighter, affluent and progressive Pakistan.


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