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UMERKOT, June 16: Leaders of nationalist parties who are members of the Sindh Census Monitoring Committee have rejected house count, the first phase of census, “because it was seriously flawed and large-scale malpractices were committed in the house count exercise”.

The convener of the committee and chairman of the Sindh United Party Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah who led a rally here on Thursday after a visit to Mithi said that bogus entries of illegal immigrants and migrant workers were made in the house count.

Activists and leaders of nationalist parties, PML-Q (like-minded group), Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, JSQM, Awami Tehrik, Sindh United Party and Awami Jamhoori Party participated in the rally.

Mr Shah said that on paper they were authorised to monitor the census process but no complaint made by them had been addressed so far. Workers of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, Karachi Development Authority and Hyderabad Development Authority were engaged in the house count, he said.

“How can the census be considered transparent when a particular political party's activists were tasked to fill in house count forms in the name of community workers,” he asked.

He said that permanent slavery was being imposed on Sindhis in the name of census, which they would never accept.

Bashir Ahmad Qureshi of JSQM said that an ethnic group, which was hungry for power and always blackmailed ruling parties, wanted to balance census of Karachi with the entire Sindh.

Under a conspiracy, inns, washrooms and even electric poles were counted as houses just to show a majority. Sindhis should be aware of the fact that all decisions about development would be taken on the basis of population, therefore, if they were converted into a minority then they would have to suffer for decades, he warned. He said that the ruling party had kowtowed to the ethnic group and given it control over departments, cities, jobs, economy and ports.

Shah Mehmood Shah said they had demanded separate columns for illegal immigrants and migrant workers but their complaints were not addressed.

He demanded a recount of house census after imposing curfew in Hyderabad and Karachi. There were some areas which had been made no-go areas, “who will go there to carry out census exercise and monitor it,” he said.

Prof Aijaz Qureshi, secretary of Census Monitoring Committee, said that 40 per cent villages had been missed under a conspiracy because outsider staff had been hired to carry out census there and they had no clue of the geography of the area.

He demanded a recount in the presence of international organisations in accordance with international standards and called for expediting work on the second phase of census after recounting houses. Our Mithi correspondent adds:

SUP chief Jalal Mehmood Shah alleged that people of Sindh were facing shortage of water, poverty, power outages, unemployment, inflation, lawlessness, murders and kidnapping.

He said the nationalists had rejected the flawed house count and they would not tolerate attempts to turn Sindhis into a minority.

JSQM head Bashir Khan Qureshi alleged that resources of Sindh were being plundered, elected representatives of PPP did not care for the welfare and interest of Sindhis and they were silent over irregularities in census to be able to cling on to power but Sindhis would never forget their disloyalty.