There is no denying the fact that a reliable population census is one of the most important prerequisites for a judicious distribution of economic and physical resources, electoral processes, representation in the Parliament,collection of taxes and other issues like increasing urbanization and assessment of need for infrastructure development. A population census ensures tallying up all the people living in a country and recording information pertaining to their age, sex, and race. The census has been considered so important that it has been mandated as part of the Constitution. Gordon De Jong, professor of sociology and demography and senior scientist in Penn State’s Population Research Institute, said the census “is most definitely important. Our whole representative democracy is based on it. It ensures that each community gets the right number of representatives in government. Because representation is based on population, an up-to-date tally is essential. The census also helps with the equitable distribution of public funds, as federal and state funding for things like educational programs, healthcare, law enforcement and highways is allocated in part based on population. Equitably distributing the billions of rupees of public money requires up-to-date population data.”All over the world, nation states regularly take up this important activity in order to be abreast of various trends their population is undergoing so that a broader view on national demography can be collected. For a country like ours, it is all the more important to gauge the changes occurring in its population at various age groups. Held at regular intervals of time, it gives a government insight into the nation’s requirements and therefore is a necessary form of data to plan for the nation’s priority areas like health, education, infrastructure, and development projects accordingly. For example, a government may use census data to make a departure from their routine budgetary decisions and may give necessary funds to parts of the country with comparatively low development and high poverty rates.The census also plays a deciding role in whether there is a need for the government to introduce schemes to facilitate people in finding job opportunities and if they should introduce a policy similar to China’s ‘One child policy’ to limit the growth of the nation. A census is responsible for adequate distribution of public funds on things such as educational schemes, roads, health facilities and law enforcement. Pakistan is a developing country and during the 69 years of its existence suffered because of misplaced priorities of successive governments. Lack of adequate planning and prioritising the need areas has resulted in failure of many five year plans. The absence of updated necessary information in the form of census data has resulted in haphazard allocation of funds, not representative of the needs of the people. A population census is scheduled to be held every 10 years in Pakistan but this has not happened in practice. A census has been held in the years 1951,1961,1972,1981 and 1998. The negligence on the part of governments can be seen from the fact that only one census has been held in the last 35 years.Previous governments seem to have been operating on the principle of adhocism as they have prioritised their projects based on what assisted them rather than what benefits Pakistan in the longer run. This is one of the primary reasons that Pakistan is failing to implement proper healthcare, has a comparatively weak law and order situation and a low literacy rate compared to other developing countries in the region.The Pakistan Bureau of statistics’ insistence that the exercise cannot be completed without help from the armed forces is not tenable at all. They need to work on some alternates for holding the census without seeking help from the army. The federal government can also help find alternate sources and can motivate volunteers from other communities like students from the public and private sector, and other security agencies.Pakistan has to ensure that the fruits of development are shared by all across the board and not by the chosen few, and that services at a local level are reaching people living in far flung areas. Thus, a census is extremely important for Pakistan to plan, execute and implement its development objectives. It is hoped that the present government, before it completes its term, finds an amicable way to complete this much-awaited exercise.