Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Ministry of Interior to carry out population census

(Azzaman) - The Ministry of Interior is to carry out a count of the population in violence-stricken areas including the capital Baghdad. The aim, according to the ministry, is to have a reliable register of those permanently residing in these areas and those staying for short periods of time. “It is important to draw a line between permanent inhabitants and the newcomers,” Brigadier Qassem Atta said.
He said each citizen in Baghdad and other restive areas will be given an identity card indicating the area they permanently reside in. In Baghdad, home to more than 6 million people, 50 police stations as well as the city’s municipal councils will be involved in the count, Atta added. The term, ‘restive areas’, normally refers to towns and villages in central and northern parts of the country – a region where Sunni Muslims are the majority.
Atta said the count was part of the U.S.-led campaign to pacify Baghdad. However, he did not say whether such large-scale count will be without risks in some places including certain quarters of Baghdad where the government practically has no authority. Atta said the government will slap curfews in areas and districts that will be covered by the census. He did not say when the count will start in earnest and which cities or areas will be the first to cover.

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