‘Up to 8m Karachiites’ may remain uncounted in census, fears MQM-P

Published April 10, 2023
Leaders from different MQM factions announce party merger during a press conference in Karachi on Jan 12, 2023. — DawnNewsTV
Leaders from different MQM factions announce party merger during a press conference in Karachi on Jan 12, 2023. — DawnNewsTV

KARACHI: Raising serious concerns over the ongoing digital census, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Sunday accused the authorities of deliberately keeping the count of Karachi population lower than the real and warned that if its concerns were not addressed, the party could take to streets and stage a sit-in on Sharea Faisal.

It also expressed the apprehension that up to ‘eight million’ people might remain uncounted in Karachi alone.

First, it was a meeting of the party’s coordination committee, where a number of issues, including the current political situation, national economy and ongoing digital census, were discussed.

A statement issued after the meeting, which was chaired by party convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, said that the MQM-P wasn’t satisfied with the so far progress of the digital census and warned that such an exercise would not give the required results.

Warns to stage sit-in on Sharea Faisal if concerns not addressed

“There are several areas mainly in Karachi and Hyderabad where enumerators have not reached yet and people remain uncounted,” the party said in the statement.

“Similarly, enumerators deliberately kept the number of population low wherever the digital census was conducted. For instance, a family of eight or nine is recorded as a unit of four or five people. Majority of high-rise residential buildings remain uncounted where people are still waiting for enumerators,” it added.

The coordination committee warned that with such flaws in the process, there was a strong possibility that ‘seven to eight million’ people might remain uncounted in Karachi and it would not serve the purpose of the multi-billion rupee exercise.

Later, addressing an Iftar-dinner organised by the party in North Nazimabad, senior MQM-P leader Dr Farooq Sattar said that the party’s concerns remained largely unaddressed and it would only push it to take to streets to register their protest.

“This census is a matter of life and death for people of Karachi and urban Sindh,” he said. “The people at the helm and mainly the Pakistan Peoples Party know it well that if the fair census is held, the next chief minister of Sindh would be from urban Sindh.”

“So every effort is being made to manipulate the original population count. But if they aren’t counted fairly, we would take to streets and converge on Sharea Faisal to prove the real population of this city,” he said.

He said that it was sheer injustice to the people of Karachi that their basic constitutional right was being violated and they were deprived of their due share in the national resources by a flawed digital census.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2023

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