PTI urges parties to accept census results, strive for early fresh headcount

Published December 29, 2020
People visit a crowded weekly bazaar in Lahore.—AP/File
People visit a crowded weekly bazaar in Lahore.—AP/File

KARACHI: The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on Monday raised its serious objections over the results of the population census in Karachi, sharing concerns of different political parties in the province, including its ally Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), but asked political stakeholders of Sindh to accept the National Census 2017 and put in every possible effort for a fresh headcount at the earliest.

The suggestion came from the top leadership of the party as Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi said parties were trying to make the census controversial which could not be reversed but it could only be fixed with a new census across the country. He justified the PTI government move to approve the census saying the party had no option amidst other serious challenges being faced by the country.

“When we came into power [in the centre] there were several other challenges which were more serious and needed immediate attention,” he said while speaking at a press conference at the party head office Insaf House. “Then came Covid-19 which further complicated the issues. Now this approval for the National Census 2017 has emerged as a serious challenge for the parties in Sindh. But the parties are actually, which include our allies and opponents, playing politics and scoring points. No one is giving suggestions for a solution.”

He said it was not possible to separately launch a fresh census in certain blocks as this was not possible both administratively and legally. The PTI said it did not agree with the number of Karachi’s population registered in National Census 2017 but it would not demand its reversal, but ask for a fresh one at the earliest.

‘The parties are actually playing politics and scoring points. No one is giving suggestions for a solution’

“The census results no doubt carry so much importance for the residents of any city,” said Mr Naqvi. “On the basis of numbers of census, the resources are allocated and the cities get their share in overall national development. This city, unfortunately, is home to many [of] those people who count themselves as residents of other cities but use every resource of this metropolis. They even register their votes in their native towns.”

He said the political parties needed to understand that any controversy on the basis of census 2017 could lead to a delay in local bodies elections which were badly needed for the development of Karachi and other parts of Sindh.

“The 2018 general elections were also held as per the 2017 census and the constituencies were also formed as per the 2017 census,” he said. “If 10 more problems are raised to solve one problem, it would not solve the problem. We have come up with the best solution to recognise the current census and conduct the next census as soon as possible but not to delay the local body elections. Local body elections are mandatory under Article 140-A of the Constitution. The status of local body representatives is more than an MPA for the general public as all the basic issues of the streets are solved by the councillors, UC chairman and vice chairman.”

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2020

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