HYDERABAD: Awami Jamhoori Party president Abrar Qazi has demanded that population and house census in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Nawabshah and Mirpurkhas be conducted under the supervision of the army.

At a press conference at the AJP office here on Saturday, Mr Qazi called for extension in time frame for house census to seven days from three days so that no one was left out undocumented.

He said the Sindh government should direct its officers to discharge their duty in census efficiently considering the importance of population census. On its part, the AJP would hold an ‘all party conference’ on Jan 30 in Karachi and its leaders would visit different parts of the province to seek cooperation of all pro-Sindh forces in the census, he said.

He said that census had been regularly held in the country till 1981. Afterwards, it was held in 1998 after a long gap of 17 years and now it was being held after over 18 years, he said.

He said that census would impact Sindh more than any other province since the province faced issues from Centre on the one hand and a political party of Karachi on the other.

He accused the Centre and Punjab-based establishment of trying to keep overall population of Sindh on lower side because increase in population had always political and financial implications.

Mr Qazi said that distribution of the National Finance Commission award was directly linked with population and since outsiders continued to pour in Sindh, it had ultimately raised its population size.

He said that before 1998 Sindh’s population was of 23 per cent of Pakistan’s total and post-1998 census it showed a rise to 23.5 per cent whereas Punjab reported an identical decrease of 0.5 per cent in population. Sindh was to be transferred resources at the rate of 23.5 per cent which was not done.

Politically speaking, he said, seats in parliaments were increased on the basis of population. Internally, a political party of Karachi was always trying to divide Sindh on the pretext that it had majority in population. The party was now saying that if a separate province was not created then someone from it should be made Sindh chief minister, he said.

He said that it was learnt that this party was now approaching Kachhi, Khwaja and Bohra communities in Karachi persuading them to mention Urdu as mother tongue and in lieu of it they were being offered office of deputy mayor of Karachi.

He said the party was bracketing Brohi, Baloch, Sariaki, and Kachhi communities as non-Sindhis because they mentioned their own languages in the box for the mother tongue on enumeration form. Such an explanation was ridiculous because these communities had been living in Sindh for centuries and were Sindhis, he added.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2016