Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) senior leader Farooq Sattar has rejected the ongoing first-ever digital census — which is the 7th national census in the country — being conducted by the Sindh government employees.
The development came after the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) chief statistician Dr Naeem Uz Zafar on Sunday said that "it is not necessary that Karachi's population will show as 30 million" after the census.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, the MQM-P leader expressed fears that a plan has been devised to show less population than the actual headcount of urban areas of Sindh.
“46% of the population in Karachi has been counted,” he said, adding that it seemed that the total population of the metropolis would be shown around 20 million in the census.
The MQM-P leader also demanded a fresh census conducted by an impartial and private sector company. He also asked for access to the census data.
Referring to the press conference by the head of the statistics department a day earlier, Sattar said that the statistics shared by the department indicated that their doubts are true.
The MQM-P leader is of the view that the population of urban areas is being shown less and in rural areas, it is being shown more than the actual figures by the census authorities.
Sattar feared that Karachi's population would be shown 66% less than its actual count. The provincial government is committing rigging in the census by their “own enumerators”, he added.
"The PPP-led government feared that a transparent census would pave the way for a chief minister from Karachi."
The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) — who made a comeback in the recent local body elections and become one of the most popular parties in Karachi — also demanded the provincial government and the relevant authorities to bring transparency in the process of the census enumeration.
Addressing a press conference, JI Karachi chapter Emir Hafiz Naeemur Rehman said that there should a mechanism to check the registration of people and statistics on the block code level.
“Each and every person should be counted where he or she lives,” he added. The JI leader also lambasted the government over rising inflation and street crimes.