Showing their anger over the federal cabinetâs approval of the sixth population census held across the country in 2017, Muttahida Qaumi Movementâs disgruntled leader Dr Farooq Sattar and Pak Sarzameen Party chief Syed Mustafa Kamal on Monday said the population of Karachi along with other urban parts of Sindh was intentionally shown less in the census.
In their talks held separately, both leaders were in agreement that Karachiâs population was around 30 million and there was a dire need to revisit the population census in a transparent manner.
Sattar, who heads the MQM-Organisation Restoration Committee, said half of the population of Karachi was missing in the 2017 census. He demanded a fresh census. Addressing a press conference at his residence in PIB Colony, Sattar said there was ample evidence to prove that the census population figures had tampered.
âAfter subtracting the MQM founder and me, now there is a conspiracy to subtract the MQMâs seats in the parliament by approving a controversial census,â he said. âOn a question of [Pakistan People Partyâs] Senator Taj Haider about the national identity cards issued in Karachi, NADRA had informed the parliament in 2013 that the cityâs population was not less than 22 million,â he said.
âBut according to the 2017 census, Karachiâs population has been around 16 million,â the veteran politician said. âWe had filed a petition in court at that time regarding the census figures of Karachi.â
Sattar said the actual figure of the cityâs population would help and work as a yardstick for the genuine distribution of resources. âIt will also help in resolving multifarious civic and administrative issues.â
He said his party would formulate a strategy to oppose the approval of the census as it was based on hostility towards Karachi. Sattar said he and PSP chief Mustafa Kamal were ready to support Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui for a joint campaign against the approval of the âcontroversialâ census if Siddiquiâs party resigned from the ministries.
PSP chief Kamal said the census data in Karachi had not been accurately recorded. He too demanded the government to conduct a new population count. Criticising the MQM-Pakistan, he said that in the previous general polls, Karachi residents had sent them to the parliament to recover the missing persons, resolve their issues and protect their rights. âBut after joining the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led coalition government, the MQM-P has only focused its efforts to enjoy the ministries instead of serving the people.”
Talking to a public meeting in North Karachi, he added: âWhen the federal cabinet was approving the controversial census, the MQM-P did not take a bold stand on the anti-Karachi issue and now shamelessly hinted that it will go to the public on the issue. The MQM-P has lost its moral and political base to go into the public.â
He said rapid urbanisation during the last five decades had not only changed the demography of the country but had also given the freedom to the oppressed people from
the cruel feudal and tribal system.
âToday the urban population of Pakistan is 60 to 65 per cent and the proportion of the rural population is at 30 to 35 per cent,â he said. âThe rapid urbanisation has protected the people from the clutches of feudalism, injustice, and oppression, and a silent revolution was expected to take place in Pakistan, but the anti-state elements have created barriers, through hatching conspiracies.â
He claimed that the feudal lords in assemblies did not allow the population to be counted honestly because if the census were to be done correctly, the seats in the National and provincial assemblies would have to be increased by the same proportion.