MQM moves apex court against ‘pre-census rigging’

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Monday moved the Supreme Court (SC) over alleged rigging in the procedure of the population census scheduled to begin from March 15 in selected divisions of the country, including Karachi.

After filing a petition in the Karachi registry of the apex court, Dr Farooq Sattar — the leader of MQM in Pakistan — told reporters that there were severe anomalies in the pre-census process of blocks count.

He alleged that as part of “pre-census rigging”, the blocks of urban populace were decreased in the upcoming 6th census — which is being held after 18 years.

The blocks in urban areas of Sindh were counted as 47.65 per cent during the last census but for the upcoming census, the blocks have been reduced to 45pc, he claimed.

He said they have raised the point in the petition that Sindh’s urban population must have increased during the past 18 years due to urbanisation, yet the government has decreased the number of blocks so as to manipulate the census.

As the blocks in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur have been reduced, houses and heads count in those cities would also be counted less than their actual numbers, he maintained.

The MQM leader feared that contrary to facts, the government is going to show increased rural and decreased urban populace in the census. He accused the government of manipulating the census to compile flawed voter lists, doctored in the ruling party’s favour.

He was of the view that the procedure being used in this census was in contradiction with the law and the Constitution. Those who migrated to the province during last 18 years for economic purposes should not be termed permanent residents of Sindh, he demanded.

Sattar said first phase of the census is being carried out in urban areas only, which reflects the ill-intentions behind manipulation of statistics.

“We had raised the same issues before Chief Census Commissioner Asif Bajwa, but to no avail,” he said.

The national population census is to begin on March 15 with a house listing operation. Some 200,000 army personnel and 91,000 civilian enumerators would be participating in the exercise.