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ISLAMABAD: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah asked the federal government on Tuesday to release block-wise data of the census to allay fears of political parties.

Speaking at a ‘Meet the Press’ programme at the National Press Club, Mr Shah dispelled the impression that he had endorsed provisional census results during a meeting of the Council of Common Interests, saying that the meeting only approved the release of provisional figures.

“How can I approve or reject such a large data in the meeting which lasted only for a few minutes?” he wondered.

Flanked by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah and Sindh Information Minister Nasir Shah, the chief minister regretted that none of his proposals for conducting the census was approved.

Mr Shah was of the view that it would be easier for the stakeholders to verify the block-wise figures, so that if someone had objections to the data, the exercise could be carried out again in those areas where any irregularity was found.

“The census cannot be conducted again [from scratch], but the exercise can be carried out again in eight or 10 blocks,” he added.

He also lashed out at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government for its failure to finalise the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, which was due to be announced in 2015, regretting that the present government had so far held only two or three meetings on the issue.

He also criticised the Centre for not helping the Sindh government in its efforts to utilise Thar coal reserves to produce electricity.

Responding to questions, Mr Shah expressed concern over recent court decisions to reinstate the inspector general of the Sindh police and seal the premises of Karachi’s Aisha Bawany College.

However, the provincial government had implemented the court’s decisions despite reservations, he said, adding that the courts “have exceeded their limits” in some cases.

The Aisha Bawany Trust sealed the college building on Friday after obtaining an order from a local court. Mr Shah said he had directed the advocate general to initiate proceedings on charges of misconduct against the civil judge who ordered the closure.

He said the Sindh government would also take action against the Trust for using the college building for commercial purposes.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2017

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