HYDERABAD: Sindh United Party (SUP) leader Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah and activists of various political parties and nationalist groups on Monday intensified their mass contact drive by visiting people in different areas of Hyderabad to create awareness of census, two days ahead of the launch of the sixth head count in the country.

Mr Shah, who heads SUP’s census monitoring committee, took control of the census monitoring cell, set up by the Awami Jamhoori Party (AJP), in the city.

He and other senior activists including AJP president Amanullah Sheikh, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz leaders Dr Dodo Mehri, Dr Niaz Kalani and Roshan Buriro visited different localities, including Hussainabad, Guddu Chowk, Latifabad, Autobahn Road, Badin Stop, Bhatti Goth, Tando Thoro, Kali Road, Jail Road, Baldia Colony, Marvi Town, Alamdar Chowk, Anwar Villas, Pakora Chowk, Nasim Nagar and Sehrish Nagar. They spoke to people telling them how to fill census forms correctly.

They said that the sixth census was a question of the Sindhi nation’s survival for which all those living in this province were under obligation to mention ‘Sindhi’ as their mother tongue in the form’s language box.

“By doing this, you will be safeguarding your permanent interests,” they said. People were also told to use ball pen and not pencil to fill the forms.

SUP chief Jalal Shah advised them to contact the cell for any guidance or complaint. He said the cell was part of the one set up by his party at his Karachi residence, Haider Manzil.

He said Sindh hosted many people belonging to other provinces and countries. “All these people should be counted separately,” he said.

Stressing that census must be held as per schedule, Mr Shah accused the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan of having committed ‘treachery’ by filing a petition against census. “[This] conspiracy to get the census postponed will be foiled,” he said.

He argued that “all those living in Sindh are Sindhis; therefore, everyone of them, whether speaking any language, should mention ‘Sindhi’ as their mother language in the census form to prove their loyalty with this province”.

The SUP chief said that government should take action against illegal immigrants and Afghans to make census credible and transparent.

Dr Niaz Kalani, speaking to reporters, said that despite reservations, Sindhi people should participate in the census. He urged people to report any flaws in the census process to the monitoring cell.

AJP president Amanullah Shaikh said that four million Afghans and one million other ‘outsiders’ were living in Karachi while their number in other districts of Sindh was also increasing day by day.

Therefore, he said, all such people should be counted as ‘foreigners’ in the census form.

He observed that the PPP was not showing enthusiasm in discharging its responsibility with regard to the census.

Meanwhile, Qaumi Awami Tehreek (QAT) president Ayaz Latif Palijo, while speaking to a representative delegation from Tando Wali Mohammad, Teen Talab and Tando Agha on Monday, alleged that the number of blocks in Hyderabad, Ghotki, Sehwan and certain other areas had been artificially reduced with the aim of under-reporting Sindh’s population.

He claimed that 40 per cent of people in this province did not have their identity cards and expressed the fear that they might not be counted. He said that as a result of a transparent census, assembly seats in the urban areas like Malir, Gadap, Lyari, Qasimabad and Hyderabad rural should become triple their present number because population in these areas had naturally and unnaturally increased.

He criticised the MQM-P for making attempts to get the census postponed. “[MQM-P chief] Farooq Sattar is now using [MQM founder leader] Altaf Hussain’s language. The PPP and MQM-P are colluding with each other to bring their own caretaker chief minister,” he alleged.

Mr Palijo also urged the prime minister, federal interior minister and census commissioner to do way with the condition of NIC/CNIC for every person to be counted.

He said that the Sindh chief minister and his cabinet members should meet the prime minister in this regard.

He advised members of various communities like Qaim­khani, Arain, Khanzada, Gujjar, Rajput, Malik etc to mention ‘Sindhi’ as their mother language in the census form as they had been living in Sindh for 70 years.

Mr Palijo had visited Paretabad, Liaquat Colony, Pucca Qila, Latifabad Units 7 and 8 and other areas a day earlier and distributed handbills as part of his party’s census awareness campaign.

Sindh Taraqqi-pasand Party (STP) chairman Dr Qadir Magsi, in a statement issued here on Monday, said that no ‘official rigging’ or counting of non-Sindhis/outsiders would be accepted.

He accused the forces ruling the country of trying to show Sindh’s population on the lower end but people would foil their ‘conspiracy’.

He said everyone living in Sindh must mention ‘Sindhi’ in the mother tongue column of the census form. He said STP was set to hold rallies and distribute census awareness pamphlets in all cities of Sindh.

Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2017

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