Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui. — Geo News screengrab/YouTube

Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui. — Geo News screengrab/YouTube
  • Siddiqui says enumeration period extended on MQM-P’s demand.
  • Says Karachi and Sindh’s population were undercounted in 2017. 
  • Encourages left out people to get themselves counted.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said on Sunday that the 15-day extension in the deadline of enumeration had vindicated the party’s stance on census.

Last month, the MQM-P — which has a strong stand over the matter — rejected the first-ever digital census being conducted by the Sindh government employees — after Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) chief statistician Dr Naeem Uz Zafar said that “it is not necessary that Karachi’s population will show as 30 million” after the census.

“The period for census has been extended on our demand. This means our concerns were valid,” Siddiqui said while addressing a press conference flanked by other party leaders at MQM-P’s temporary head office in Bahadurabad.

He said that the ongoing population census was a national matter.

“For 50 years the injustice has been done with the urban census. Only the urban areas of Sindh have to protest, object and appeal,” he added.

The politician said that in 2017, the urban population of Karachi and the rest of the province had been undercounted on a large scale. He said that they fear that the census was not being conducted properly in urban Sindh.

Siddiqui went on to say that his party tried to fix the census by engaging two different governments. He then called for accurate counting of everyone in the entire country.

He said that the authorities claimed to have completed 98% enumeration before the extension in the deadline. After the extension, an addition of three million had been made in the enumeration for the population of Karachi.

Siddiqui encouraged the people, who had been left out or counted wrong during the enumeration, to get themselves counted.

“This is a matter of life and death for us,” he added. He further stated that it was for the first time that that the authorities were listening to the party’s concerns and “we have succeeded in making them meet our demands”.

He said that the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has also admitted many of its mistakes.

PBS extends date of Census 2023 for fifth time

On Friday, the PBS had extended the date for the ongoing seventh population census for the fifth time. 

The deadline for the enumeration — which was originally scheduled to be completed by April 4 — had been extended for 15 days to May 15. The exercise was initially extended till April 10 and then again till April 15, 20 and 30.

Besides MQM-P, Jamat-e-Islami has also raised objections to the census, especially in Karachi, whose population they claim has been undercounted.

A day before the extension, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had also directed the authorities to address the reservations of MQM-P — which is a key ally of the incumbent government — involving the first-ever digital population census at the earliest — after reports surfaced that the party had asked its lawmakers to hand in their resignations.

The premier issued the directives during a meeting with a delegation of the MQM-P led by Siddiqui.

The MQM-P delegation had thanked the prime minister for playing his role to address the party’s reservations to a great extent.

Earlier, a multi-party conference (MPC) convened by the Pakistan Peoples Party — a key ruling party —had resolved not to accept the results of the ongoing 7th digital census in the country if the reservations of Sindh were not addressed by the federal authorities in March.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *