Census issues.

AS the seventh population census continues, several issues have cropped up hindering the head count. Foremost seems to be security for police officers deployed to guard the enumerators. Two policemen assigned census duties were martyred in separate attacks in KP on Monday. One incident occurred in the Tank area, while the other in Lakki Marwat; both areas have witnessed TTP activity in the past, and the attacks are reminiscent of deadly terrorist ambushes targeting polio teams. Apart from security concerns, there are trust issues, particularly in urban areas, as reports have emerged of people refusing to cooperate with census teams.

Moreover, enumerators in several areas, particularly in Sindh, have complained of not receiving funds for fuel and daily allowances. The Sindh chief minister has also said his administration may boycott the head count if their myriad concerns are not addressed. The count in several parts of Balochistan has also not started due to 'technical issues'.

All of these concerns need to be addressed urgently by the federal government, or else controversy will mar this census too. It should be recalled that billions of rupees have been set aside for the census in times of great financial strain, while tens of thousands of enumerators and security personnel have fanned out...

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