Pakistan is conducting a national census or sixth housing and population survey for the first time in 19 years starting from March 15.
The 70-day door-to-door campaign will be concluded in two phases at a financial cost of around $185-million.
Nearly 120,000 specially trained government workers have been deployed to undertake the much-needed census.
Those found guilty of “willfully” giving false information would face a six-month jail term and a financial penalty of around $500.
Pakistan’s population has exploded since its first consensus in 1951, when it had around 34 million inhabitants.
The World Bank estimated in 2015 the country’s population at 190 million, but Pakistani officials still use the figure of 134.7 million from the census conducted in 1998 for planning development programs.
The population census is also used to assign electoral seats in Pakistan’s parliament.
Chief Census Commissioner: Asif Bajwa.
The United Nations Population Fund will assign international observers to oversee the administration of the census.
In Pakistan, the first four censuses in 1951, 1961, 1972 and 1981, were held on time by the Population Census Organisation.
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 could 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.
The census is considered as a key for correct data to plan for the development of the country.