Saturday September 30, 2023

MQM-P asks lawmakers for 'resignations after serious census concerns'

Rabita Committee expresses serious reservations on census in Karachi and Hyderabad

By Azaz Syed
April 25, 2023
MQM-P Convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui. — Twitter/@MQMPKOfficial
MQM-P Convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui. — Twitter/@MQMPKOfficial

Bringing its differences with the coalition government to the surface over the ongoing digital census, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) Tuesday sought resignations from its members of national and provincial assemblies and Senate, sources told Geo News.

The party, according to the sources, has reservations over the census procedure in Karachi and Hyderabad.

Earlier this year, MQM-P Convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui iterated that his party had withdrawn a contract of saving and forming governments in their bid to break away from the conventional tactics to pressurise governments.

“Streets are our house [assembly]. Now, we will settle and build it,” he added.

Dr Siddiqui's comments came during a presser held to rejoice over the “low turnout” in local government polls earlier this year, which it termed “rigged” in the Karachi and Hyderabad divisions.

The party was against conducting local body elections in the two divisions until new delimitation was done and had also threatened to quit the coalition government.

Meanwhile, the party has shared serious objections over census figures so far in a meeting held with members of its Coordination Committee — commonly known as Rabita Committee.

“The Rabita Committee expressed concerns over the non-serious attitude of rulers regarding the census,” the party spokesperson said in a statement.

In the meeting, presided by Dr Siddiqui, the party members discussed inaccurate statistics despite conducting meetings with ministers and relevant authorities, and presenting evidence against irregularities.

The MQM-P has been insistently against the ongoing first digital census — which is the seventh national census in the country — in Karachi and Hyderabad, largely sharing its concerns over Sindh government employees executing the task.

The party has, since the census began, demanded a fresh census conducted by an impartial and private sector company.

Hours after the development, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif contacted MQM-P Convener Dr Siddiqui to extend the Eid ul Fitr felicitations.

The two discussed the country’s situation over the call, while the MQM-P leader also informed the premier about his party’s reservations about the ongoing census, which PM Shehbaz assured to address.

Last month, senior party leader Farooq Sattar said that MQM-P's doubts were true after Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) chief statistician Dr Naeem Uz Zafar commented on Karachi's population.

The former Karachi mayor was of the view that the Sindh 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.

Dr Sattar feared that Karachi's population would be shown 66% less than its actual head count. The provincial government is committing rigging in the census by their “own enumerators”, he added.

The MQM-Pakistan, in its statement, said that important decisions have been made regarding the party’s future course of action with regard to the abuse meted out towards the citizens of Karachi and Sindh in the ongoing census.

“The MQM-P will inform the public through media about the future action plan after further consultation,” the statement read.

The party, which is part of the coalition government in Islamabad, also discussed the country’s political and economic situation in detail, as well as deliberated over its various organisational matters.