KARACHI: The Council of Common Interests (CCI) is to meet on Monday (today) in Islamabad with a one-point agenda — the Provisional Census Report-2017.
The approval of the report is possible only if reservations of the Sindh government are addressed at the CCI meeting because not only Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah but also the provincial assembly has refused to accept the provisional census report.
There is consensus among members of the Sindh Assembly that if their grievances are not addressed and delimitation of constituencies is not made on the basis of registered voters, the people of the province would take to the streets.
The federal government has rejected Sindh’s reservations saying that the process of conducting the census was transparent and that all provinces had monitoring committees which were briefed on a regular basis.
Sindh to voice its reservations at the meeting
However, the chief minister of Sindh is on record as having said that the people of Sindh had reservations over the census results. He has demanded the statistics department share details of census blocks with the Sindh government so that it could be counter-checked to restore their confidence in the report.
The provincial government is of the view that Sindh’s population has been shown lower than its actual number in order to not increase the province’s share in the National Finance Commission award.
Besides Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, which is the second largest party in the assembly, is also of the opinion that the census figures do not reflect Karachi’s actual population.
Questioning the census report, MQM-P leader Dr Farooq Sattar wondered if the people of the metropolis could not be counted properly, how would the issues of the city be resolved.
He said Karachi’s population came to around 30m, but according to the census it stood at 10.6m.
Data released about the citywide population in the provisional census conducted by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics shows that Karachi’s population has ballooned to 14.9m people in 2017 as compared to 9.39m in 1998.
Thirty-three per cent of Sindh’s 47.9 million-strong population lives in two major cities, Karachi and Hyderabad.
While the provincial capital’s population has grown by 59pc in 19 years, Hyderabad’s population has recorded an increase of only 0.6 million during the same period.
In support of its stand, the Sindh government has pointed out that the population of Karachi was 9.39m in the fifth census report of 1998, and after 19 years it was shown at 14.9m -- with an annual growth rate of 2.41 per cent. Millions of people were shown with double addresses and also counted in their home provinces, though they worked and lived in Sindh. This is an unfair treatment to Sindh which cannot be allowed.
Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2017