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Pakistan launches its first digital census with a focus on tightening security measures

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Pakistan launched its first-ever digital population and housing census on Wednesday in a bid to securely gather demographic data on every individual ahead of this year’s parliamentary elections, officials said.

The digital count will provide data for policy decisions, which are now based on the 2017 census which counted the population at 207 million people.

They also aim to enhance security and avoid another quagmire like the one that befell the 2021 census. The results of this count, which was done by hand, were never made public due to complaints of errors and exclusions.

The results of the digital census will be announced next month, according to the Pakistan Statistics Bureau, which is conducting the census amid tight security.

On Wednesday, census workers fanned out across Pakistan to collect data. In addition to policy decisions on things like education and health, the information will also be used in upcoming parliamentary elections.

For the first time, census takers will count members of gender minorities who have been largely neglected in this impoverished Muslim nation. According to human rights groups, there are about 10,000 sexual minorities in Pakistan.

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