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KARACHI: The Sindh government has rejected the initial results of the recently held population census saying that showing a lesser population [than projected] in the province is a “conspiracy” by the federal government against Sindh. It has decided to call a multiparty conference to consider issues emerging from the census results. It said Sindh in no circumstances would give up its due share and would not allow the federation to commit injustice to it.

The views of the Sindh government were announced by Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Nisar Ahmad Khuhro in his policy statement on Monday. Elaborating the decision of the Sindh government, Mr Khuhro said that showing a reduced population of Sindh was a calculated move of the federal government, which had conspired against Sindh to deprive it of its increased share in the divisible pool on the basis of the census in the National Finance Commission Award.

According to the initial results made public officially, the total population in Sindh reached 47,886,051 in 2017 from 30,439,893 in 1998, showing a yearly population growth rate of 2.41 per cent while the rural population reached 22,975,593 in 2017 from 14,744,436 in 1998, showing a growth rate of 2.36pc. Similarly the total urban population is 24,910,458 in 2017 against 15,695,457 in 1998, showing a population growth rate of 2.46pc.

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Mr Khuhro, who is the senior minister in the Sindh cabinet, issued this statement as the first official reaction of the government to the initial results of the recently conducted census as Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has gone to Saudi Arabia to perform Haj.

He recalled that the Sindh government had expressed its apprehension during the time the census was being conducted but the federal government failed to remove its apprehensions. And now showing a reduced population in its initial results had proved that all apprehensions of Sindh were true, he added.

The senior minister said that in view of its apprehensions the Sindh government had demanded that during the house enumeration every person present in the house be provided a photocopy of the data form so that no one was left uncounted, but the federal government did not pay any heed to Sindh’s demand and kept the results of the census secret for a long time, which amounted to a conspiracy by the federal government against the province.

He said the Sindh government had decided to call a multiparty conference soon on issues emanating from the outcome of the census after contacting all political parties. “Sindh would not give up its rights in any circumstances and get its due share. Sindh will not allow the federation to commit excesses with the province.”

Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2017