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March 21, 2017



‘Why aren’t you married yet?’ expect such queries


Residents complain census staff asking irrelevant questions,

forcibly entering homes and misbehaving with them

Residents of different areas of Karachi have lodged complaints against the census staff for not only asking them irrelevant questions but also forcibly entering homes and misbehaving with them.

Most complainants said the census staff forcibly entered their homes and misbehaved with elderly people.

They maintained that the census staff was poorly trained and not following the standard operating procedure.

Dr Munir Moosa, a human rights educator and a resident of Garden East, told The News on Monday that a female census staffer accompanied by security officials on opening the door forcibly tried to enter his home without seeking permission.

“It was only after I reminded them about my right to privacy, they stepped back,” he added.

When I asked the lady [female census staffer] to show me her official card, she was surprised and told me that nobody else had asked her to show them her card. She started searching for it in her purse and eventually pulled a torn card. She was not even wearing a green jacket that the census staff is supposed to be in.”

He added that when on the census staff’s query that he was a PhD, they asked him whether that was a diploma after matriculation or intermediate.  “The lady told me that there wasn’t a column in the form for PhD.”

Besides, he added, when he told the census staff that his home had two bedrooms and a dining room, he was told that the dining room would be counted as a bedroom as there was no other column.

Dr Moosa also complained that the census team had misbehaved with his mother.

“When I told the census staff that I’m unmarried, they asked me why hadn’t I married yet. What is their business to poke their nose into my personal life like that?”

Hamid Khan, a resident of Gulshan-e-Iqbal 13-D, also complained about the census staff asking him unnecessary questions.

“I think a school-going child would have been better at the job than the surveyor who came to my home,” Khan said.

“The census staff was neither properly trained, nor following the standard operating procedure issued earlier for the process,” he added.

Abdul Majeed, a resident of Model Colony, said he was puzzled by the census staff’s strange question as to whether or not he had a well in house.

Dr Moosa said he was not sure as to what census staffers had marked as they had refused to show him the filled-out form. “It is a mandatory rule to seek consent for any type of survey but I found this exercise to be more like forcibly collecting data,” he added. “I fear that the poor planning is likely to affect the authenticity of the census data.”