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After a passage of over two years, important vacant positions in Pakistan Bureau of Statistic (PBS), including the slot of chief statistician, are finally going to be filled in. The PBS has been operating without a permanent chief since July 2017 after the retirement of Asif Bajwa who was later inducted as consultant for a period of six months from July 2017 to January 2018. The chief statistician is the administrative head of the PBS. According to sources, at present the matters pertaining to PBS are being looked after by the secretary planning and development.
Moreover, the functions of critical members including member economics and statistics, member national accounts, member resource management and member census and surveys are given to the other officials of the national statistic body, sources said.
According to official website, the PBS has sought applications against following four vacant positions Chief Statistician (MP-I), Member Economics and Statistics (MP-II), Member National Accounts (MP-II), Member Resource Management (MP-II) and Member Census and Surveys (MP-II). Besides vacant positions at federal level, three provincial census commissioners' positions of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan are also lying vacant. The PBS consists of 6 members and four slots at present are vacant, moreover 3 provincial census commissioners' positions including Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan are also vacant for which no advertisement has been published.
An official of PBS responding to a question regarding accuracy and authenticity of data said, "Our teams are deployed from union council to district to provincial levels and we collect data from our teams. Moreover, we also monitor the media and other sources to compile authentic and reliable data."
Bajwa had completed his term as chief statistician and chief census commissioner on July 3, 2017. Bajwa had remained secretary Statistics Division and became the chief statistician after the previous Pakistan Peoples Party government reorganized the statistics body in 2011.
The General Statistics Re-organization Act of 2011 gives vast powers to the chief statistician and the post of the secretary statistics has become a symbolic post dealing with the limited affairs of the Statistics Division.
The PBS is responsible for collection, compilation and dissemination of reliable and timely statistical information to the policymakers, planners and researchers. It publishes a variety of reports, based on primary and secondary data, especially on economics and social aspects of the country. The officials said that the absence of chief statistician and other key members has seriously affected the functions of the body over the past couple of years. They added that appointment of chief statistician and other members was delayed due to delay in the approval of a summary sent to the Ministry of Law and Justice for recommending certain changes in the terms and conditions regarding the senior positions in PBS.