01/11/2022 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – According to the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), Christian leaders doubt Pakistan’s first-ever digital census will accurately count the country’s Christian minority. These leaders claim previous censuses have to undercount Christians, denying them proper representation in the country’s political and social systems.
Skeptical about sharing parish records with local governments for the digital census, Bishop Samson Shukardin told UCAN, “It is not right if the government asks us to share the information. It has to take us into confidence to secure the data. There has to be a proper procedure. All these things raise questions for us.”
In recent years, the call for digitizing parish records has grown stronger. This became especially true after it was reported that the Christian population in Pakistan had declined for almost two decades.
“I am still trying to understand if it was intentional or our community was being irresponsible,” Albert David, a member of the National Commission for Minorities, told UCAN. “Despite having systematic records, the Church doesn’t share its data. We are becoming a minority among minorities.”
Bishop Sukardin believes the census data showing the Christian community in decline is inaccurate. He believes the true figures are being hidden, potentially denying Christians accurate representation in the country’s government and other developmental schemes.
Christians make up 1.27% of Pakistan’s overall population of 207 million, according to the 2017 census. In 1998, Christians made up 1.59% of the population. Activists and Christian leaders point to the severe persecution and discrimination faced by Pakistani Christians to explain the population decline. Others, however, also believe the Christian community is intentionally undercounted.
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