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Census realities

54 2 0

WITH Pakistan’s population at 207.8 million and an annual growth rate of 2.4 per cent, alarm bells must be ringing for policymakers.

A key issue is how census managers have handled Pakistan’s urban question, its impact on basic services management and urban planning to adapt to the effects of climate change. Numerous studies show that temperatures in South Asia will exceed habitable levels by the end of this century. Disruptions in agricultural outputs and economies will trigger deepening vulnerabilities at every level, from the individual to the country.

Climate change is already palpable in Sindh’s cities: coastal storm surges, rising sea levels, hotter summers, unprecedented floods and unpredictable precipitation. Pakistan’s expanding urban ecological footprint is most visible at the rural-urban interface where we find spaces of intense marginalisation, and exacerbated by decades of poor planning, incompetent engineering and avaricious development — compromising local ecologies that could withstand the shock of natural disasters.

The provisional census results show urbanisation at 36.4pc. The 1998 census determined urbanisation at 32.5pc, a figure that drew censure from various groups, with critics arguing that the conventional definition of........

© Dawn