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December 10, 2019

MQM-P begins pressuring Centre to keep promise to audit 5pc of blocks


December 10, 2019

Reiterating their concerns over the results of the sixth population census in Sindh’s urban centres, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) has initiated a campaign to pressure the federal government to fulfil its promise to conduct an independent audit of five percent of the census blocks in Karachi and Hyderabad to address reservations over the important count organised in 2017.

On Monday, MQM-P central leaders, including convener and federal minister Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, deputy conveners Kunwar Naveed Jamil and Aamir Khan, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar and Nasreem Jalil, addressed a press conference at the party’s temporary secretariat, saying that the party had been continuing its fight for the accurate census in the urban centres in the parliament as well as in the courts.

“Without an accurate census, nobody can make proper planning for the over-crowded cities of Karachi and Hyderabad,” said Siddiqui. Conducting an independent audit of five per cent of census blocks in Karachi and Hyderabad was included in a nine-point memorandum of understanding signed between the MQM-P and the PTI to support the latter in the formation of the government in the centre.

In September 2018, Prime Minister Imran Khan had also agreed to conduct the audit. The provisional results of the census showed that the population of Karachi was a 14.91 million. However, the federal government has failed to audit the five percent data to address the reservations of the MQM-P, its important ally, over the census, even though two years have passed since the results were announced.

Federal minister Siddiqui said that ghost blocks and voters had been shown in census in Karachi.

“Fake blocks have been made in the census in Karachi where the population is zero and voters are 416,” he said. Mentioning District Central, an overwhelmingly Mohajir-populated district where National Assembly seats have been reduced from three to two on the basis of provisional results on 2017 census, Siddiqui said that the number of computerised national identity cards (CNICs) was higher than the population shown in the census.

He requested the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of the results of the population census 2017 for Karachi and expedite the party’s case in the court regarding it. He said that because of not showing a genuine population in the census, the people of urban areas of Sindh were not getting their due share of water, employment and other resources.

Jamil, another MQM-P leader, said that distorted and fudged figures of the census for Karachi could have serious repercussion not only for the economy but also for the political stability of the country.

“In over 14,000 census blocks in Karachi, the population in around 1,800 blocks was shown less and voters were shown higher,” said Jamil. He said that the census exercise was conducted after getting funds from foreign countries.

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