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Sindh to reject census if flaws not addressed, says CM

By Our Correspondent
May 19, 2023

The actual population of Sindh is 64.4 million, but the federal government has counted the same as 57.6 million which shows that 6.8 million people have not been enumerated during the latest census drive.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah made this statement while addressing a press conference at the CM House on Thursday. “This is not a small difference. The purpose of conducting a census within a period of five years was to make an accurate, foolproof and scientific enumeration of the population but this latest census has also proved to be defective and unacceptable,” he maintained.

He said a meeting on census was recently held in Islamabad that was attended by the Sindh chief secretary. Without taking him on board, the meeting decided to close the census exercise after May 15, except in Punjab, the CM added.

Shah said that if the census count had to be based on the population growth rate, there was no need to carry out such an expensive and gruesome exercise. “Under the law, the census is conducted after every 10 years,” he said, adding that the last census was conducted in 2017 but it was defective, due to which the federal government on his insistence in the Council of Common Interests decided to conduct it again in 2023.

“Now this census of 2023 is also proving to be defective and controversial, therefore the federal government must rectify its shortcomings to the extent of the satisfaction of the provincial governments,” he demanded and announced that otherwise, the Sindh government would have no option but to reject the census results.

May 9 violence

Talking about violence and arson incidents on May 9 in the aftermath of the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, the CM said such incidents were unacceptable and would not be tolerated. “We would arrest each and every person involved in the violence,” he categorically announced.

Shah said the arsonists had torched the most important memorials related to national pride such as the Chaghai mountain monument, a warplane that had set a record for shooting down five Indian warplanes and the corps commander residence in Lahore that was earlier owned by the Quaid-e-Azam.

“It was no simple violence, but something pre-planned and this insanity started from their top leadership,” he said.

Talking about Karachi, Shah said violent protestors torched a pedestrian bridge, a Ranger’s check post, a police mobile van, a bus of the Peoples Bus Service, two vehicles of water utility,

motorbikes, and trees.

NFC award

Shah said the last National Finance Commission (NFC) award was announced by the (PPP) government in 2010 and now the announcement of a new NFC award was overdue. He added that once the census was completed in true letter and spirit, its impact would fall on the NFC award.

Karachi mayor

The CM said the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had emerged as the single largest party in the city after the local government elections, therefore it would elect its mayor.

"There will be our [PPP] mayor in the city and people of the city knew we have served them, and they have acknowledged it through the ballot,” he said.

He added that the PPP had won the largest number of votes in the 1970 election from Karachi and after that, the people of this city who believed in the service of the PPP government in Sindh voted for its candidates in the latest local bodies’ elections.

“If I start counting the record number of development works completed in the city, the entire time of the press conference time would be consumed doing it,” he claimed.

Shah said the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) had not won any seat from District Central in the local bodies elections of 2016. He wondered how the party was able to secure so many seats in the last local government elections. The CM, however, said the JI had not emerged as the largest party in the city.

To a question, he said the PPP government did not believe in victimisation or denying the rights of others. “Wasim Akhtar was in jail when he was brought out to contest the election for the mayor on August 25, 2016,” he recalled.

He said that had the PPP not brought him out of jail, he would have not been elected. Shah offered the elected PTI local government representatives facing allegations of violence perpetrated on May 9, 2023, to come out and surrender voluntarily so that justice could be meted out to them.