ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's information minister says the country is set to launch a national census for the first time in 19 years.
Maryam Aurangzeb said told reporters Sunday that the census will start on March 15 and should be completed by May 15.
She appealed to citizens to cooperate and warned against giving false information. Pakistani army spokesman Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor said that nearly 200,000 soldiers will help civilian staffers collect the door-to-door data.
Islamabad last conducted a census in 1998, which recorded a national population of approximately 180 million at that time. Analysts believe the figure has risen much higher, most probably crossing over 200 million.
Aurangzeb says Pakistan's ongoing fight against Islamic militants was the main reason for the long delay.