SC seeks replies on plea regarding census in Balochistan

By Our Correspondent
December 07, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought replies from Additional Attorney General and Advocate General Balochistan in a plea filed against census in the province.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsen heard a petition challenging the verdict of Balochistan High Court (BHC) in a matter of census of 2023 in the province of Balochistan. During the course of hearing, the court observed that the petitioner has raised objections to the participation of caretaker Chief Minister Balcochistan in the meeting of Council of Common Interests (CCI).

The Supreme Court of Pakistan building in Islamabad. — AFP/File

Additional Attorney General Chaudhry Aamir Rehman however, submitted before the court that the decisions of the apex court regarding Council of Common Interests (CCI) are very much clear adding that nobody concerned had raised any objection to the participation of caretaker Chief Minister Balochistan.

The law officer submitted that the role of Council of Common Interests (CCI) was also mentioned in the case related to elections being held on February 8, 2024.

Justice ijazul Ahsen, however, said that they would also look into on the next date of hearing the decision regarding the February 8 general elections.

Justice Ijazul Ahsen while addressing Kamran Murtaza, counsel for the petitioner, observed that the best solution to the matter could be that next time they should not vote for the incumbent caretaker chief minister.

Kamran Murtaza, however, contended that the manner in which the ministers are elected in the province, it’s another debate.

Meanwhile, the court sought replies from Additional Attorney General and Advocate General Balochistan and adjourned the hearing for date-in-office (Indefinite period).

Hassan Kamran had filed an appeal in the apex court under Article 185(3) of the Constitution against the verdict passed by the Balochistan High Court on August 29, 2023

The petitioner had made Federation of Pakistan through Secretary, Cabinet Division, Council of Common Interests (CCI), Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Chief Secretary Balochistan, National Database & Registration Authority (Nadra) and Pakistan Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) through its chairman as respondents.

The petitioner earlier had moved Balochistan High Court over gross violation of the fundamental rights of people of Balochistan in the matter of census of 2023 by a forum having jurisdictional defects and questions and had sought protection of his rights along with the public of Balochistan. The learned high court, however, had dismissed his petition for not being maintainable on the grounds that the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBAP) had challenged the decision of Council of Common Interests (CCI) before the Supreme Court.

The petitioner, however, contended in his appeal that the subject matter, grounds and his grievances in his petition were completely different from the SCBAP petition before this august court.

The petitioner had submitted that although the last reported figure of 2023 census by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics was 21.7 million but to his utter shock and the public at large in Balochistan, the final result showed the population of Balochistan as only 14,894,402, i.e. a decrease of almost 7 million, which is about a third of the population, completely wiped out of the official record.