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After PPP, PTI leaders reach out to MQM-P on census

January 01, 2021

KARACHI: A day after the visit of the Pakistan People's Party’s delegation to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan’s office to meet its leaders, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has also sent its delegation to meet the leaders of its disgruntled ally that has recently shown its anger over the federal cabinet’s decision to approve the ‘controversial’ census.

A PTI delegation, headed by Opposition Leader in Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi, on Thursday visited the MQM-P’s temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad to meet its leaders. In the meeting, leaders of both the parties discussed the flaws in the census results in Karachi, upcoming by-polls in the province, and other related issues. PTI leaders privy to the development told The News that the party’s central leadership had asked the provincial leaders to meet the MQM-P leaders and deliver Prime Minister Imran Khan’s message to them.

The PTI delegation also included the parliamentary leader in Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Shaikh and Karachi President Khurram Sher Zaman besides other leaders. The MQM-P’s senior deputy convener Kunwar Naveed Jamil, coordination committee members Faisal Sabzwari and other leaders represented the party in the meeting. Talking to the media after the meeting, Sabzwari said that the MQM-P will not accept the results of the 2017 census at any cost. “The MQM-P had identified the flaws in the census process timely and holding a fresh census was the first point of the agreement that was made to join the PTI-coalition government.”

“Census is an important issue in a country where the distribution of resources is based on the population,” said Sabzwari.

Naqvi also said it would be hard to remove the discrepancies in the population count after the passage of four years. “It is the reason that the federal government has set up a committee with a view to removing flaws in the next population census after a ministerial body recommended accepting the disputed results of the 6th national headcount and holding the next census ahead of schedule.

“In the past, it was a practice to conduct census first in the urban areas and then in rural areas to rig the census,” he said, adding “This time, the PTI has suggested conducting census simultaneously in rural and urban areas.”

Leaders of both parties criticised the PPP’s Sindh government and said that urban and rural areas of the province cannot progress and develop in the “corrupt” provincial government that has been ruling since 2008.

Both the parties also discussed bringing a joint candidate in the upcoming by-polls on the three provincial assembly constituencies in the province that are scheduled in February. Sabzwari said the party in its coordination committee’s meeting will discuss the suggestion.

Meanwhile, PPP leader Taj Haider, who headed the party’s delegation to meet the MQM-P leaders on Friday, clarified in a statement that the reduction of 14 million population mentioned by him in the meeting was in the population of the entire Sindh, not for Karachi.

“The figure is based on the data given in the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey conducted by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and UNICEF. The average household size in all 28 districts of Sindh had been greatly reduced in Census 2017,” the statement said.