Call to extend census time

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KARACHI: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) initiated multi-party conference regarding concerns over the ongoing digital census issued a joint declaration that they would not accept the results of the census unless their concerns were addressed.

The participating parties in the conference have demanded that the duration allocated for census activities should be extended, the defects in the census should be removed and there should be a separate box for foreign immigrants.

The party’s Sindh president, Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, said this at a press conference at the end of the moot. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah briefed the conference about the census.

PPP leaders Waqar Mehdi, Syed Nasir Shah, Saeed Ghani, Sassi Palijo, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Kheal Das Kohistani, Maulana Rashid Mehmood Soomro of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Shahi Syed of Awami National Party, Dr Qadir Magsi of Sindh Tarqi Pasand Party, Aftab Qadri of Sunni Tehreek, Osama Razi of Jamaat Islami and Muhammad Haleem Ghori of Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan as well as leaders of Awami Workers Party, Awami Jamhoori Party attended the moot.

“The time given for house enumeration and census is not enough,” he said saying it took 35 minutes to fill one form. “The tablets as well as the app have malfunctioned. This digital census would be like the RTS,” he said referring to result transmission system controversy during the last election.

Khuhro said that those participating in the moot had asked the chief minister to discuss this matter with the federal government.

He said that census workers had to ensure that the millions rendered homeless by the flood affected were counted with the help of Nadra data. He said that counted households should be given a receipt so they know the headcount entered in the data.

The moot also called for sharing census data with Sindh but did not signify in what form.

He also called for delaying elections in the two provinces, saying how could part of the country go to polls while a census was taking place. Meanwhile, a general election is scheduled for later this year.

“How can elections of two provinces be conducted on the basis of the old census while the rest of country will go to poll on the basis of the census results,” he said. “We demand that new elections be held on one day in the whole country after the completion of the new census.”

He added that Sindh had raised ‘strong objections’ to the 2017 census results, while adding that the current census must not make that mistake.

CM Murad Ali Shah said that it was these strong reservations over the 2017 results that led the previous government and the Council of Common Interest (CCI) decided to conduct a new census.

He, however, said that while a census was required, a repeat of the 2017 activity would be futile. “If the population of Sindh is counted accurately and transparently, then no one will object.”

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