Pas­ban files con­sti­tu­tion pe­ti­tion in SHC on cen­sus-re­lated is­sues

Daily Messenger - - Metropolit­an -

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.

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