Sindh CM pens letter for joint session of Parliament to discuss approval of Census results

Sindh CM pens letter for joint session of Parliament to discuss approval of ‘faulty’ Census results - file foto

KARACHI (May 29, 2021): The Sindh Chief Minister following his meeting with PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has written a letter to the Chairman Senate and Speaker National Assembly to summon joint session of the Parliament to address the issues raised by the Government of Sindh in respect of approving the controversial and ‘faulty’ Census results.

The copy of the letter has also been sent to the prime minister and the President of Pakistan, read: “A perusal of Part II of the Federal Legislative List shows that the word “Census” appears at entry No. 9 of the said list.

The rationale of having Census in part II of the Federal Legislative List was based on the fact that since a genuine and accurate census is a pre requisite to so many Constitutional and legal rights of the Provinces who must have a say in the finalisation of  Census and that is why the forum of Council of Common Interests (“CCI”) was empowered to decide on this because it has representation of the Provinces and through such representation their points of view can be presented. If the intention of the Constitution makers was to ignore the points of view of the provinces then this subject would not have been in part II of the list but rather part I of the List.”

Sindh CM letter for joint session to discuss approval of Census results

The letter said, “It is the considered view of the Government of Sindh that the opinion of the provinces ought to be properly considered before approving the Census results. In this regard, some of the decisions that the Hon’ble CCI has made since November 2017 are being highlighted below:

13-11-2017 CCI approved 1% validation of Census Results

24-11-2017 CCI enhanced the 3rd party validation of Census Results from 1% to 5%

27-03-2018 CCI re-iterated the decision of 24-11-2017

27-05-2018 Matter to be referred back to Parliament because validation was not possible

11-11-2020 CCI was informed for the first time that a Cabinet Committee has been constituted. Chief Minister Sindh informed the CCI of its earlier decisions and expressed the reservations of the Province of Sindh. He also proposed that any finding of the Committee without addressing the reservations of the Provinces would affect the sanctity of the results, therefore the Committee should address such reservations before proceeding further.

The Federal Minister for Planning & Development had also supported this point of view. Therefore, the CCI unanimously decided that the Committee shall address the concerns of the Provinces.

CM Sindh in his letter wrote, “It is most unfortunate to state here that the Committee instead of addressing the concerns of the Provinces or even meeting the respective Provincial Governments unilaterally proceeded with the finalisation of its report. It is even more unfortunate that the Federal Cabinet (which is also headed by the Hon’ble Prime Minister) approved the said report on 23-12-2020.

Murad Ali Shah further stated, “It is imperative to state here that it is our duty to follow the decisions made by CCI, even more so on the Prime Minister who is not only the head of the Federal Government but also the Chairman of CCI.

The letter further read, “It has been the stated position of the Government of Sindh that its population has been undercounted and there is empirical evidence on record to substantiate this argument. As per the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey which is undertaken by all Provincial Governments in coordination with UNICEF, the average Household in Sindh and Baluchistan is 7.2 & 7.7 respectively.

However, as per the Census Results, the average household for Sindh & Baluchistan is 5.64 & 7.06 respectively. Based on this, the total population of Sindh would come to 61,041,938 as opposed to 47,854,510 in 2017 Census.

Similarly, the population of Baluchistan would come to 13,444,153 as opposed to 12,335,129 in the 2017 Census. It is noteworthy to mention here that the total population of Pakistan would also come to 210,472,057 as opposed to 200,688,214 in the 2017 Census.

Sindh CM arguing his case said, on 07-04-2021, the issue of Census was again presented for approval of the CCI.

Chief Minister Sindh raised the aforementioned issues before the forum. However, on the request of the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Baluchistan, the matter was deferred for 12-04-2021.

Unfortunately, for the first time since the creation of CCI, a decision as important as any national cause was taken by way of majority and not unanimously. It is most imperative to state here that even the process of voting did not take place properly and the Hon’ble Prime Minister chose not to take the vote of the three Federal Ministers who were present at the meeting and perhaps assumed that the three Federal Ministers will also approve the Census results which is again an aberration from normal procedure.

It is further added that I have also through letter dated 14-04-2021 submitted my dissenting note to the CCI and copy of the same was also sent to all worthy members of the CCI.

That the issue of approving this controversial and faulty census was discussed in the meeting of the Provincial Cabinet on 13-04-2021 and it was unanimously decided that this issue should be referred to the worthy Parliament for its decision in the joint sitting and I have been asked by the Provincial Cabinet to move this reference before the worthy Parliament.

In light of the above, you are requested to kindly place the matter before a joint session of the Parliament as mandated under the Constitution.

A copy of this letter is also being sent to the Honorable President and Prime Minister of Pakistan so that an urgent joint session of the Parliament is summoned to address the issues raised by the Government of Sindh in respect of approving the controversial and faulty Census results.

 

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