Population census 2016

  • http://tribune.com.pk/story/1041334/much-awaited-exercise-for-census-only-a-quarter-of-troops-needed-available/

    Comment by S.R.H. Hashmi:

    According to the report, while Presiding over a meeting which was held to review arrangements for the Population and Housing census scheduled for 2016, the finance minister directed the chief census commissioner to coordinate with the relevant authorities in this regard and submit a complete action plan for his consideration within three days.

    While the move displays a sense of urgency on the part of the Finance Minister who is also a de-facto deputy prime minister, it also creates some doubts in peoples’ minds as to the government’s real intentions, when seen in conjunction with other reports that the government was thinking of postponing the population census. And the reason for this was given as the requirement of a large number of soldiers to assist in the conduct of a credible survey and the inability of the armed forces to spare for the assignment such a large number of its personnel in view of the circumstances prevailing within, and at the borders of the country.

    The suspicions about the government sincerity in holding the already much delayed population census are further strengthened by the fact that with the census scheduled to start in March this year, all detailed plans and procedures relating to it should already have been finalized much earlier, instead of Ishaq Dar now asking for coordination with relevant authorities in this regard and for submission of a complete action plan for his consideration within three days, Of particular concern is the matter of coordination with the ‘relevant authorities’ which may include some – like the armed forces – which, as regards day-to-day operations, are not under direct control of the government, and which are expected to play a major role in the conduct of the census.

    I hope the army chief will make arrangements to spare a reasonable number of personnel and will not allow the civilian government to once again avoid performing this vital, constitutional duty on the pretext of non-availability of the armed forces personnel. Surely, the civilian government ought to be able to perform some functions on its own. Come to think of any important function; whether it is maintenance of law and order, holding of general elections, conduct of population census, or even administering justice to hardened criminals, they can’t manage on their own. Looks like they consider their primary, and perhaps the only duty to be to indulge full time in corruption and to line the pockets of self, family, friends and associates.

    Now, the two major successes of the armed forces have been clearing the tribal areas of terrorists as well as improving the law and order situation in Karachi.

    However, one of the major problems of Karachi is that the National and Provincial Assembly constituencies for urban Sindh, especially Karachi, continue to be determined on the basis of 1998 population census, which obviously does not account for the accelerated migration to Karachi from interior Sindh as well as from the rest of the country. This creates a situation where more assembly seats get allocated to rural Sindh, depriving the urban Sindh, especially Karachi of its legitimate share of seats in the assemblies I line with its much-enhanced population which may now be greater than that of rural Sindh.

    We know there is a clear division in Sindh: with Peoples Party capturing nearly all seats in rural Sindh, with MQM doing he same in Karachi and urban Sindh. This creates an unfortunate situations where Peoples Party having scant presence in Karachi, and no interest in city’s smooth functioning, gets the overall majority in the Sindh Assembly and over the province’s resources, and forms government to the exclusion of the party that secures overwhelming mandate for urban Sindh. And even on occasions when MQM is formally a part of the coalition government, it has little influence due to Peoples Party securing simple majority on its own, and enacting legislation to the detriment of urban Sindh. One example of this callous behaviour of the Peoples Party is its act of depriving the local governments even of the powers that a military dictator had given them, and failing to hold local government elections even for these much-depleted bodies. And even when local body elections were finally held on court orders, Peoples Party is not handing over powers to the elected body in Karachi.

    So, if Rangers and the armed forces behind them are really serious about sorting out Karachi, they have got to ensure holding of the population census without further delay, arrange delimitation of constituencies on the basis of new population figures, and make sure that the next general elections due in 2018 are held in a transparent manner, after thorough vetting of the assembly aspirants, This will give significant representation in the Assemblies to the elected representatives of urban Sindh and thus give them adequate control over how their cities are run. Without this vital step, the successes achieved in the present operation will fade away, much like what happened with the previous successful operations.


  • Guess who will demand for seperate province after the census.

    Na khappay, na khappay