World Bulletin / News Desk
In the second phase, some 88 districts of the four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan region, northwestern tribal region, and Azad (liberated) Kashmir will be covered till May 24, Habibullah Khattak, a spokesman for Pakistan Bureau of Statistics told Anadolu Agency.
The preliminary results of the long-due census, he said, are expected to be announced within 60 days after completion of the second phase.
The sixth census, which is being held after a gap of 18 years, had begun in March 15, and covered some 63 districts.
The house listing and the two-phase enumeration exercise is estimated to cost the national exchequer around 14.5 billion rupees (approximately $138 million).
The move by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government came only after the Supreme Court took suo motu action over the delay in carrying out the crucial process.
This is the second time the census has been delayed since the country gained its independence in 1947 from the then British Empire.
The first four censuses -- 1951, 1961, 1972, and 1981 -- were all held on time, but the fifth census was held after a seven-year delay in 1998.
Pakistan is estimated to be the second-largest Muslim country in terms of population after Indonesia. It currently ranks as the sixth-most populated country in the world.
According to the 1951 census, there used to be just 33.7 million people in the country, which rose to 42.8 million in 1961, 65 million in 1972 and 85 million in 1981.
The last census of 1998 estimated the population at roughly over 130 million with Punjab emerging again as the most populated province, followed by Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces.
The government of Pakistan and the United Nations believe the current population to be somewhere between 180 million and 200 million.