‘Extend census deadline in rural Sindh’
KARACHI: The Sindh Coordination Council (SCC), a representative body of civil society, on Wednesday demanded of the government to ensure transparency in the process of digital census by extending the deadline across the province instead of some cities and towns.
The demand has come following the reports of massive discrepancies in the census and pressure tactics by certain quarters to achieve vested interest.
“Almost all Sindh including Kacho, kohistan and desert areas have been completely or partially destroyed by the heavy monsoon rains and floods last year. A huge number of people are not counted in flood hit areas as they have not yet returned to their homes. But unfortunately, the census date is only being extended in urban areas,” said Professor Aijaz Qureishi, Secretary General of the council in a statement.
According to the council, comprising six like-minded think tanks including intellectuals, writers, diplomats and professionals, have placed the matter before the Council of Common Interest. As per the council members, the accurate counting of people in Sindh is a must for the correct and justified allocation of funds under NFC or seats in assemblies.
“We demand that Afghans, illegal migrants and aliens counted so far must be placed in a separate group as a ‘different entity’ so that, they may not be able to enlist with ECP as voters,” the statement said adding that like the 2017 census, this manipulation of the population increase or fudging of figures will render the whole exercise disputed, futile, and worthless.
The census authorities, federal and provincial governments must ensure transparency, accuracy, and authenticity of the data so that the results are acceptable to all stakeholders.
They said that due to improper and defective planning, the process could not be finalised within the specified period, and the last date has been extended many times. “We time and again questioned the criteria and methodology employed by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.”
They added that the selective extension of geo- tagging and populous count until May 15, 2023 for particular areas is a part of a mischievous agenda, aimed at altering the demographic configuration of Sindh and turning the native population into a minority.
“We should not have double standards in principles or policies in the same province and will protest at every forum if our genuine demand is not met,” said the statement.