ISLAMABAD: Inter Services Public Relations Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor on Sunday said the armed forces were fully prepared to help conduct the 6th National Census in a smooth and transparent manner.
"It will be a unique event that every solider will go door to door for carrying out head and dwelling counts, which is required to be considered mark of thanks from Pakistan Army," he said while addressing a joint press conference. Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb and Chief Census Commissioner Asif Bajwa were also present in the press conference.
He said the army would extend every possible assistance. One army personnel would be accompanying each enumerator for smooth conduct of the process. "The one army personnel will not be the one individual but he will be fully backed by the entire armed forces institution as well as law enforcement agencies and police."
The militarymen accompanying the enumerators would be directly linked to the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for immediate verification of the facts to be divulged by the citizens while filling out the census proformas, he added.
He urged the citizens that the census teams visiting their place be accorded warm reception and extended every cooperation in compiling the data.
He warned any willful lie or false statement tendered before the census team would be a punishable offence. According to the law, any infringer, who would tender wrong information, would be penalized for six-month imprisonment along with Rs 50,000 fine in cash.
He said on the directives of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the armed forces would provide all kinds of assistance to the census department for the smooth, transparent and secure conduct of the process.
He said all the participating personnel had been imparted full training to hold the process of House and Population Census.
Citing background, he said the meeting of Council of Common Interests (CCI) held in 2016, had mandated the Pakistan armed forces to help the civilian setup for the conduct of smooth, transparent and error free National Housing and Population Census.
During the same meeting, the armed forces were also mandated to ensure security for the census conducting teams in the field, he added.
Giving details about the census process, Major Gen Asif Ghafoor said the armed forces consulted the previous census records, particularly that of the recent one held in 1998 when the process were completed in 90 days with the help of some 250,000 personnel. Despite `engagement of armed forces in various operations, now it was decided to deploy over 200,000 armymen to assist for conducting the census process within 60 days, he added.
While informing about the systematic plan to conduct the population census, he said 168,000 blocks, 20,631 circle levels and 3307 in-charge levels had been established.
The headquarter for conducting the entire process, he said, would be housed at Army Air Defence Command Rawalpindi.
"Insha Allah there would not be any security related issue during the entire exercise and in case of any eventuality or threat to peace, Pakistan Army is fully prepared to take up the challenge in an appropriate manner," he said.
Referring to the recent statement of the COAS, he said General Qamar Javed Bajwa had already declared every Pakistani as a soldier thus everyone should keep eyes and ears open and be vigilant not to miss to report any untoward happening or unusual activity.
For the purpose, a hotline (special telephone line) had been established which would work round the clock for passing on any such information or to respond any query in that regard, he added.
Answering a question, he said all the process of threat assessment had been thoroughly conducted and when and where it would be needed immediate deployment of personnel would be undertaken.
To another question, he said the troops already present in Balochistan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas would continue to remain in the respective areas and if any further requirement arose the force would be replenished accordingly.
He told a questioner that all the people in Pakistan would be included in the population census and not a single head would be left over.
He clarified that 84% of temporarily displaced persons (TDPs) had returned to their native areas while the rest lot had already been registered with the authorities concerned so there should be no confusion in that regard. –APP