Pasban files constitution petition in SHC on census-related issues
KARACHI: Pasban Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Altaf Shakoor has filed a constitution petition in Sindh High Court (SHC) Thursday on census-related issues, praying for issuance of final results at the earliest so that the local bodies elections could be held as per schedule.
As per details, making Federation Of Pakistan, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) respondents, Altaf Shakoor in constitutional petition number CP 4452 maintained that the human capital is the most important asset of any society and conducting periodical national census is important to compile a numerical profile of this human capital and conduct national planning and related decision-making processes at all levels on the basis of this data.
He submitted that the Constitution of Pakistan gives an obligation of conducting census after every 10 years.
He submitted that the first census was held after the independence of the country in 1951, the second in 1961, and the third in 1972. The fourth population census was scheduled to be conducted in March 1981 and the fifth one was due in 1991 but could be held in 1998. The recent sixth census was held in April 2017 as per the directions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. It began on 15 March 2017 and ended on 25 May 2017. It was conducted by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
He submitted that, though the process was completed on time, but the provisional results were delayed by a month. Resultantly, different political parties raised questions about the credibility of the results.
The petitioner said that the census results also play a crucial role in the parliamentary democracy. The Article 51(5) of the Constitutional of Pakistan 1973 says: “The seats in the National Assembly shall be allocated to each Province, the Federally Administration Tribal Areas and the Federal Capital on the basis of population in accordance with the last preceding census officially published.”
"That, the population census has always been contentious in Pakistan as political parties in smaller provinces, especially Sindh, believe that their numbers have been manipulated to deny them their rightful share in federal resources. Due to the similar reservations allegations about procedural flaws, the results of an earlier census, held in 2011 were annulled.
"That, these reservations and allegations consequently resulted into judicial intervention, and the authorities were directed to conduct 2017 national population census with army’s tacit support.
"That, like past this time also different political parties expressed reservations over the validity of the census data, especially in Sindh, due to the absence of a post-enumeration survey.
"That, the first to reject the results have been various factions of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). They claimed that the population of Karachi shown in provisional results as 14.9 million is way below their estimate of 30 million. Another group that opposed to the results were the Sindhi nationalists, who feared that the results indicate that Sindhis have already become a minority in their traditional homeland.
"That, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Sindh chapter President Nisar Ahmed Khuhro has warned that the Sindh government is unable to hold the next local government elections in the province till the time it is provided with the final results of the last population census conducted in the country in the year 2017.