ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan launched a national census on Wednesday, the country's first in 19 years.
Asif Bajwa, the country's chief census officer, told reporters in the capital Islamabad that tens of thousands of civilian data collector will be working door-to-door, supported by 200,000 soldiers. The project will be conducted in two phases and aims to be finished by May 15, Bajwa said.
He appealed to all citizens to cooperate with the data collection staffers, warning that providing false or incorrect information could result in fines or even jail terms of up to six months. The survey will also count Afghan refugees, diplomats and, for the first time, transgender people.
"We have to count each and every person who is sharing the resources of my country," Bajwa said.
Pakistan hosts 1.5 million registered, and nearly one million more unregistered Afghan refugees, who have fled their war-torn homeland.
Islamabad last conducted a census in 1998, which recorded a national population of approximately 180 million. Analysts believe the number has since risen past 200 million.