Mar 22, 2018

Sindh: Politicians Decry Irregularities and Exclusion in 2017 Population Census

The Pakistan People’s Party denounced an “anti-Sindh” de-jure methodology during collection of data for the 2017 population census in Pakistan. By counting migrants in their origin provinces instead of using a de-facto method, which would mean to count everyone residing in the province, the Sindh population has been denied the right of a fair representation at the institutional level. This way of counting is a first-step of administrative discrimination is a symptom of institutionalised bias in the way to approach an already deprived province.

This article has been published by The Nation: 

Pakistan People’s Party on Tuesday [20 March 2018] said that Sindh was being denied the right to be “counted correctly” in the census.

In a statement, PPP leader Taj Haider said that he had returned very disappointed from the meeting of the Senators Monitoring Committee on validation of Census 2017.

The meeting was chaired by Raja Zafarul Haq of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Haider said: “It is sad and worrisome that even the right of people of Sindh to be counted correctly was being trampled upon by the House of the Federation.”

He said an army of officials of the Statistics Division had been allowed inside the Committee Room, while the media was barred from coverage.

“Instead of seeking a nomination of a demographer from [the] Punjab and finalising the formation of the Census Commission as provided for in the agreement signed by parliamentary leader of all political parties, sadly the chair had opted for finding excuses for further postponement of the implementation of the agreement,” Haider added.

Minister Statistics Division Senator Kamran Michael did not attend the meeting.

Secretary of the division insisted on the “anti-Sindh” de-jure methodology, which counts migrants in their provinces of origin and does not count illegal residents at all, Haider said.

This “anti-Sindh methodology” had been rejected by all political parties in the meeting presided over by the prime minister and the consensus agreement was based on de-facto method of counting which includes everyone residing in a province, the PPP leader said.

Since many decades other provinces instead of creating employment opportunities locally have adopted a policy of pushing their un-employed to the province of Sindh, the PPP leader said.

This policy has caused serious unemployment problems for the permanent residents of Sindh.

Cognizant of this danger, Article 15 of the 1973 Constitution has put the condition of “any reasonable restriction imposed by law in the public interest” over “freedom of movement”.

“Having cardinal faith in federalism and the brotherhood of working classes, [the] Pakistan People’s Party has never thought of putting any restrictions in this regard but does it mean that the millions and millions of migrants and illegal residents in Sindh should not even be counted,” he said.

Haider said that besides usurping its right of higher representation in federal elected and non-elected institutions, Sindh, on whose taxes and mineral resources the entire federation was depending, was being deprived of its genuine share in the federal divisible pool.

The estimated losses to Sindh on this account alone are estimated to be Rs24 billion in the current year.  It is a pity that those who benefit from Sindh, continue to speak and work against Sindh, night and day, he said.

Haider said that such attitudes as adopted by the PML-N government cut at the roots of the federation.

“In the present state of virtual economic and political anarchy brought about by [the] PML-N leadership it is crucial that wisdom and justice prevailed,” he said.

Haider hoped that the critics of the PPP would now understand why it was important for them in the elections for chairman Senate to defeat the PML-N candidate and support a candidate from the most deprived province of Balochistan.


Photo courtesy of Oxfam International @Flickr