Friday September 22, 2023

MQM-P chief asks federal govt to rectify ‘flawed’count of Sindh’s urban population

By Our Correspondent
June 01, 2023

Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) Convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui has in a letter to Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal expressed concern over the flaws in the recent census and requested them to rectify the enumeration process in the urban areas of Sindh.In the letter, copies of which were also sent to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the MQM-P chief maintained that serious anomalies had been observed in the census in Sindh. He alleged that there had been numerous examples of manipulation in the headcount in different areas of Sindh where the population was either grossly overstated or understated.

Dr Siddiqui maintained that many rural areas of the province had undergone an abnormal increase in their population according to the census. He cited the examples of 49.03 per cent population growth in Jacobabad, 38.98 per cent in Kashmore, 36.55 per cent in Shikarpur, 25.55 per cent in Larkana, 28.90 per cent in Sukkur, 23.31 per cent in Khairpur, 21.80 per cent in Sanghar, 22.83 per cent in Sujawal, 23.54 per cent in Umerkot, and 23.51 per cent population growth in Tharparkar. He said such population growth in rural areas defied all the demographic logic. “Against this huge increase in rural districts, urban districts where there is huge migration from all provinces of Pakistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmir and many regional countries, the growth in population is incredibly low,” reads the letter.

According to Dr Siddiqui, the population increase in District West of Karachi had been 13.83 per cent, District South 10.52 per cent, District East 16.08 per cent and Hyderabad 18.57 per cent. He alleged that these numbers reflected the intention to suppress the population of urban areas and inflate the headcount in rural areas to deprive the people of urban areas of their political and economic rights. The MQM-P chief wrote that a serious effort was required to correct the numbers through post-enumeration surveys and audits, and use of technology. Addressing the federal planning minister, Siddiqui said the current census figures were not acceptable and if they were not corrected, the results of the 7th population census would be rejected outright by the people of Karachi and Hyderabad, the MQM-P and all other political and civil society stakeholders.

“We appreciate that you [federal planning and development minister] and Pakistan Bureau of Statistics have been very responsive all along, in addressing the complaints with a clear intent to keep the population count fair and transparent. I am sure you, in right earnest, will address the serious anomalies mentioned above,” the letter reads.