Political parties say new census before next polls vital for Sindh
KARACHI: Nearly four years have passed since the 2017 census but the controversies surrounding it still haunt the Sindh province while major political parties maintain that the census was way off the mark and was deliberately botched up by the authorities concerned in order to deprive the people of the province of their due rights.
It may be mentioned here that when the census result was announced, the Sindh-based political parties were up in arms and created a lot of hue and cry, claiming that the 47.9 million population of the province was under-reported by at least 10 million.
On the other hand Karachi, which is the biggest city of Sindh province, the population of the mega city was confirmed as 144.91 million.
The political parties and other segments of the society have since been constantly demanding that a new census be carried out again on a fair basis before the 2023 election.
The federal government finally paid heed to their demands as the Federal Minister of Information Fawad Chaudhry recently announced that the 2023 polls will be held under the new census which will be carried out in the next few months.
In view of Fawad Chaudhry’s statement, Bol News approached the representatives of various political parties in Sindh, seeking their opinion on the new development.
Waqar Mehdi (PPP)
Waqar Mehdi of Pakistan Peoples Party said that it is clear that the 2017 census was a conspiracy to undermine the people and the resources of the province and PPP has already put their demand for a new census on the table.
“Due to PPP’s unrelenting stance on census and its untiring efforts, the government has now agreed to conduct a census before the 2023 election and five billion rupees have already been allocated for this purpose,” he added.
He noted that census is most important in order to acquire the due share of Sindh province from NFC and it was a mala fide intention of the stakeholders that they conducted a census that is totally inaccurate in the eyes of all political stakeholders of the Sindh province.
They should conduct a fair and accurate census on the lines of international standards,” he demanded.
Highlighting the significance of a fair census, Mehdi said that it is well past high time that the people of Sindh province are given their due share.
Amin Ul Haq (MQM)
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM-Pakistan) leader Amin Ul Haq, speaking on the census issue, said that MQM has totally rejected the 2017 census results that show that the population of Karachi and Lahore are almost equal.
Haq also pointed out that PTI and MQM have already signed an MOU that a fair census be conducted before the 2023 elections.
“With our assistance, the government has allocated five billion rupees for the next census,” he added.
“We had cast doubt on the results of the previous census as several indicators point to lack of transparency of the 2017 census.”
“Karachi produces more than 12 million tons of garbage, while the water demand of Karachi is 13 million gallons per day (MGD) which proves that the population of Karachi is more than 250 million and the previous census was totally wrong,” said Amin.
He further added that the census results showed much less population in some areas wherein the voters list confirmed otherwise.
Arshad Vohra (PSP)
Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) vice chairman Arshad Vohra also agreed with the notion of the PTI that a census should be held prior to the 2023 elections and the government must count the temporary residents of Sindh province as well in it.
“There are a large number of people living in Karachi identified as temporary residents and they use Karachi resources but cast their votes in their hometown,” Vohra pointed out. “These people must be counted for their current location so that the city as well as the province could take its due share and a deserving political party could win the elections following the transparent census results.”
Qasim Fakhri Ameer Karachi, Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) while registering his impression about the census that it was baseless and a malafide practice of the government.
“But we demanded that the government must carry out local bodies’ elections before the new census.’
He said that it is their tactic to highlight the issue of census at this time, when they have to conduct local bodies election.
“These political parties do not want to serve common people so they raise the issue of census during the time of local bodies election,” he concluded.
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