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Karachi

March 21, 2017

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PPP moves SHC to ensure impartial enumerators for census

PPP moves SHC to ensure impartial enumerators for census

Court also grants pre-arrest protective bail to all accused in December 5 Regent Plaza inferno case

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) filed a petition in the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday to seek public participation in the process of the ongoing census as well as to appoint impartial enumerators for the population count.

PPP leaders Farhatullah Babar and Maula Bux Chandio told the SHC that several important aspects of the census had been concealed from the people and that the entire exercise should be transparent.

Babar and Chandio told the court that the people were complaining about the process of census because “no procedure exists to verify the data of the families being counted”.

They said the assistant commissioners who had been notified as census district officers should maintain the relevant records in their respective offices and the records should also be accessible to the people in accordance with Article 19A of the Constitution.

The article ensures that “every citizen shall have the right to have access to information in all matters of public importance subject to regulation and reasonable restrictions imposed by law”.

The PPP leaders told the SHC that the “impugned exercise undertaken by the census staff was not being done in a transparent manner and the process of the population count should be conducted on accepted international standards and norms”.

They sought setting up an emergency complaint centre accessible to the people to address grievances regarding wrong, false and fabricated enumeration in a timely and effective manner.

They also sought relevant injunctions as “several sections of the general statistics (reorganisation) act were contrary to Article 19A of the Constitution”.

Regent Plaza inferno

The SHC granted pre-arrest protective bail to the Regent Plaza’s owners and the members of the hotel’s management in the December 5 inferno case.

Hotel owners Zubairuddin Baweja and Muzaffar Baweja, and management members Saad, Arshad and Javed had approached the court for acquiring pre-arrest bail in the case. They were booked by the Saddar police for the accidental death of 12 people and injuries to 75 others in the blaze.

According to the inquiry report, the hotel management had not only failed to follow its security plan, but was also unable to inform the emergency services in time.

Police said the fire had erupted in the kitchen located on the ground floor of the four-star hotel located on Sharea Faisal, and swept through the building, trapping scores of hotel guests in their rooms.

The applicants had moved the SHC against rejection of their bail by the trial court. The attorneys of the owners and the management members claimed that the fire was accidental and there was no negligence by the management.

They told the court that the hotel’s owners and management were willing to cooperate with the investigation, but objected to their arrest and sought releasing the applicants on bail. The court granted pre-arrest bail to the applicants with the surety of Rs100,000 each.

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