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December 11, 2019

PA’s unanimous resolution calls for third-party audit of 2017 census results


December 11, 2019

The Sindh Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution calling upon the federal government to conduct a third-party audit to verify the controversial results of the Sixth Population and Housing Census held in 2017.

The parliamentary leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Paksitan, Kanwar Naveed Jamil, moved the resolution in the House. The lawmakers of all the treasury and opposition political parties lent support to its passage.

“This assembly resolves and recommends to the Government of Sindh to approach the Federal Government to conduct third-party audit of census on experimental basis in 5% area of the country to judge the fairness of results as decided by the major parties PPP, MQM-P, PML(N), PTI, and other political parties present in the parliament,” the resolution read.

Speaking on his resolution, Jamil said all the political parties concerned in the country had reservations over the results of the sixth population census. He added that in view of those reservations, a third-party audit needed to be conducted to verify the results of five per cent census blocks in the country.

The MQM-P parliamentary leader urged the Sindh government to approach the federal government to get such an audit carried out. He said genuine issues concerning the people would remain unresolved if census results were not accurate.

He said such a serious issue should be raised at every relevant forum till a third-party audit of the census results was conducted. Another MQM-P MPA, Jawed Hanif, said the people of Sindh would not be able to secure their due rights if the erroneously calculated census results was not rectified. Everyone should raise voice on this issue, he added.

Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani said the Pakistan Peoples Party had already expressed their reservations over the census results before the government and in Parliament but they were not heard.

He remarked that in the latest census results, the population of Lahore had doubled while the population of Karachi of significantly understated. He said Sindh had always been on the receiving end as people from the rest of the country had resettled there for earning their livelihoods but such persons were never counted in the census.

Ghani was of the view that such controversial results of the census would do no good as they would further aggravate the sense of deprivation among the already deprived sections of society, and only influential and privileged quarters would be more benefited.

Alleged stoning

Meanwhile, Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani informed the House that the preliminary report of post-mortem examination conducted on the body of Gul Sama, a deceased girl of Dadu who was allegedly stoned to death, showed that the young girl had not been stoned and her death had occurred due to accidental falling of a rock that broke her neck bone.

He said that the unconfirmed reports claiming that the young girl had been stoned to death had put the Sindh government in a bad light and the prayer leader who had offered her funeral prayers had to be taken into custody.

The parents of Gul Sama had also been taken into custody for the investigation, Ghani said. He added that the body was exhumed from the grave in the presence of a magistrate and the post-mortem examination showed no sign of stoning.

Ghani asked people not to criticise the government without any evidence. He said there was also no evidence for any Jirga taking place that ordered the stoning of the girl. Those who made a hue and cry without any proof should apologise to the girl’s parents for putting them in undue trouble, he added.

The information minister said rising incidents of kidnappings in the DHA area of Karachi were alarming and the culprits behind such incidents should be apprehended. He said the family of Dua Mangi, who had earlier been kidnapped in DHA and later released after ransom was allegedly paid, had been cooperating with the police while her friend Haris, who was shot and injured when the kidnapping took place, was still in a critical condition. He said the Sindh government would bear the expenses incurred on the treatment of Haris.