MQM-P again highlights ‘flaws’ in census results of Karachi

Updated 10 Dec 2019

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“This has not been done because of a mistake. Karachi is the largest city of Pakistan and its population and that of urban parts of Sindh was intentionally shown less in the census, which falls within the ambit of an international crime,” MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui told a press conference here. — DawnNewsTV/File
“This has not been done because of a mistake. Karachi is the largest city of Pakistan and its population and that of urban parts of Sindh was intentionally shown less in the census, which falls within the ambit of an international crime,” MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui told a press conference here. — DawnNewsTV/File

KARACHI: Repeating their allegations that the sixth population census held across the country in 2017 was a flawed exercise as far as the results of urban parts of Sindh were concerned, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan said on Monday that showing less population of Karachi was a deliberate act and tantamount to committing an “international crime”.

“This has not been done because of a mistake. Karachi is the largest city of Pakistan and its population and that of urban parts of Sindh was intentionally shown less in the census, which falls within the ambit of an international crime,” MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui told a press conference here.

The MQM-P has been part of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led coalition government at the Centre for over 15 months. It had signed a nine-point memorandum of understanding with the PTI in August 2018 and the first point of the document pertained to the result of census in Karachi.

Dr Siddiqui, who has been serving as federal minister for information technology and telecom since the formation of the government, said it was beyond anyone’s understanding how the census authorities showed zero population in some blocks in Karachi, where the number of voters was between 200 and 800.

Urges the army and SC chiefs to take notice of the anomaly

Senior MQM leader Amir Khan said that the National Database and Registration Authority had told the Senate in response to a question that it had issued over 21 million CNICs in Karachi alone. “So either Nadra is lying or those who had carried out the census and put Karachi’s population at 16 million were lying.”

Terming it a rigged exercise, senior leader Kanwar Naveed Jameel said that a house count survey was always carried out before the population census in which enumerators also noted the number of house inmates. “While the results of that survey carried out in 2011 were by and large fair, the authorities later declared it void and carried out the exercise afresh as part of a conspiracy,” he said.

He said the number of voters in Karachi’s district Central was 2.97 million while the population as shown in the 2017 census was a little more than 3m.

He said that armed forces personnel were accompanying enumerators in the name of security although they were not technical persons and not part of the census exercise. But the statistics department had made them a party to it. “Therefore, it is our appeal to the army chief as well as the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of this.”

He asked Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to raise the issue of Karachi population in the upcoming meeting of the Council of Common Interests if he considered the metropolis a part of Sindh.

In reply to a question, Dr Siddiqui conceded that the first point of the agreement his party had signed to join the federal government was related to fair census and a third-party audit of five per cent of census blocks as per the decision of the CCI. “This is a matter of human rights and we demand that the chief justice take immediate notice to provide justice to the people of Karachi,” he added.

Senior leaders Nasreen Jalil, Faisal Subzwari, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, Aminul Haq and others were also present.

Azizabad’s roads closed

Like previous years, police and paramilitary Rangers placed barricades and closed both tracks of roads from Ayesha Manzil to the Comprehensive School traffic intersection in an attempt to stop a likely gathering of workers and supporters of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-London.

The road from erstwhile Mukka Chowk to Jinnah Ground was closed even for pedestrians. The closure of the roads linking Federal B Area to Gulshan-i-Iqbal and North Nazimabad caused a traffic mess.

The unified MQM used to observe Dec 9 as ‘martyrs’ day’ and its workers and supporters gathered at a “martyrs’ monument”, Yadgar-i-Shuhada, situation in Azizabad’s Jinnah Ground to pay their respects to their fallen partymen.

There has been an unannounced ban on the MQM-L after Altaf Hussain’s August 22, 2016 incendiary speech and since then the party was not allowed to observe its programme in Jinnah Ground.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2019