LARKANA: Pakistan Peoples Party Sindh president Nisar Ahmed Khuhro has said that all CNIC-holding citizens of other provinces who reside in Sindh should be counted in the province in census and illegal immigrants should be allotted a separate box in the census data.
Khuhro said at a gathering of party workers at his residence here on Thursday that only those who possessed CNIC should have right to franchise. Even a newborn should be counted in the census and options of permanent and temporary addresses must be mentioned in the CNIC for using the right to vote, he said.
He pointed out anomalies in previous census when permanent address in CNIC was linked to using the right of vote which had ultimately led to squeezing the share of Sindh in the National Finance Commission award. Therefore, he said, all people living in Sindh should be counted as residents in the census to pave the way for expanding the province’s share in the NFC award.
He advised the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) to participate in local bodies’ election. Power would surely trickle down to grassroots level with the completion of two phases of election, he said.
He said the party’s reservations over delimitations were to be addressed by the Election Commission of Pakistan and PPP government to do with it.
He said the delimitations were carried out in November 2021 while MQM-P filed its objections in March 2022 hence courts rejected the party’s pleas twice.
As the process of delimitation was on, union councils’ population increased from 15,000 to 25,000 and from 30,000 to 70,000 in rural and urban areas, respectively, he said.
He said that when the ECP invited objections the MQM-P did not turn up to file petition and now it had missed the train as it had filed objections after the fixed date expired. Therefore, both the ECP and courts had rejected their pleas, he said.
Technically, he said, it was unjustified to go for election on the basis of new delimitations because elections had already been held in four divisions on the basis of old delimitations. It would hence be impossible to hold election on the basis of new delimitations, he said, adding that perhaps it was the reason the court struck down MQM-P’s petitions.
He said that if popularity was criteria for a political party to go into election, then the area of the constituency carried no weight.
About the furor over new provinces, Khuhro said that Sindh had not given its consent to centre to create new provinces. The subject was not even enshrined in the party’s manifesto, he said.
He said categorically that no new province would be carved out of Sindh and it was clear and unalterable stand of his party. Besides, no new province could be created without amending the Constitution, he said.
About the Sukkur accountability court’s verdict which threw out charges of possessing assets beyond known sources of income against him, Khuhro said the case was just an allegation. “I defended the charges legally and constitutionally and emerged victorious,” he said.
Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2023