ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives Professor Ahsan Iqbal today said that the next general election in the country would be held on the basis of data compiled through 7th Population and Housing Census (digital census) in October 2023.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of training of master trainers for 7th Population and Housing Census, the minister said that government would spend about Rs34 billion on this exercise of vital importance that would help in framing economic policies and ensure equitable distribution of resources among all the stakeholders for the development of the country.
He said that the government is providing Rs13.5 billion to the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), which would arrange digital solutions, adding that it would be the first digital census that would help swift completion of the process.
He said that an offline data collection system would also be available for areas out of internet coverage, adding that this census would also determine whether the population was on an increasing or decreasing trend.
The minister said that the census was a constitutional obligation on the basis of which the government determines National Finance Commission Award and distributes national resources for just development of all areas.
Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistan was ranked among the rapidly population-growing countries. He said, due to increase in population, the availability of basic civic facilities like education, health and clean drinking water were reducing whereas the per-capita availability of water and agriculture land was also on decline.
Coming general elections to base on 7th population 2023 census: Ahsan Iqbal
He said that a huge bulge of local population comprised of youth, which was a blessing if we could provide them proper education and skills for economic development of the country.
He said that in the meantime, the increasing polarization would push this national dividend into extremism and called for creating balance between resources and challenges.
The minister said that economic stability was not possible overnight, adding that it required proper time and continuity in policies and political stability. He said the crisis which was faced by the current government was created by previous regime and it was the result of its incapability and bad governance.
However, he said that the government has successfully averted the default challenge on external front and took tough decisions and was honouring all commitments made by last government with multi-lateral agencies.
He said that the country tolerated another shock worth $30 billion due to recent flash floods and rains that hit the country particularly Sindh and Balochistan provinces.
He said that government was also able to overcome this challenge. He said reconstruction and rehabilitation work in all affected areas was in progress and that would continue till the settlement of last effected person.
Ahsan Iqbal said that the government intended to organize Climate Resilience Conference next month to mobilize about $16 billion for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of flood effected people, adding that the conference would be attended by friendly countries.
Later, talking to media, the minister said that narrative developed by Imran Khan was badly beaten and it was exposed in local body election in Azad Jammu and Kashmir where 70 percent seats were won by other parties other than PTI.
He said that Imran Khan had launched a comprehensive propaganda campaign against national security institutions and had not even forgiven the officers who were martyred in a helicopter crash.
The minister cleared that there was no fear to economic default as the economic fundamentals were on sound footing, adding that the current economic challenges, created by the last government, were temporary.
Ahsan Iqbal stressed the need for promoting exports, controlling the imports of luxury goods and encouraging foreign direct investments, besides generating more revenues.