Sixth population and housing census has become controversial to some extent as two chief ministers (CMs) and a federal minister have showed serious reservations over the process and the authenticity of collected data, it was learnt reliably.
The sixth population and housing census is currently in progress in the country, while the process (census) has been started after a delay of almost 19 years ostensibly to get rid from the sense of deprivation in remote areas of the country and equal distribution of resources among all the segments of society.
However, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa CMs and SAFRON minister during a recent meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) held here under the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on May 2, 2017 raised their serious concerns over the census.
Available copies of official documents disclosed that Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah demanded of the federal government to provide a copy of census report to the head of each family in Sindh province. Murad also asked the government to upload the collected data on the website of PBS to enable the concerned public to reconcile the same. However, federal government has rejected his humble requests.
“The finance minister while replying to queries and observations further explained that the proposal of Sindh chief minister was legally not possible,” the documents said.
The sources in Inter-Provincial Coordination Ministry said Syed Murad Ali Shah has communicated the meeting that Sindh would not accept the wrong data whose authenticity was under question. He said that Sindh might face injustice in the distribution of resources and formation of electoral constituencies due to wrong data.
Surprisingly, Minister for SAFRON (States and Frontier Regions) Lt-Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch also expressed reservations over the continued census process in distant areas of Balochistan. He informed the meeting that few areas of the Balochistan province were still inaccessible for population and housing census despite the help and assistance of law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) and intelligence agencies
“He requested that additional 15 to 20 days be allowed to complete the census in certain inaccessible districts of southern and central Balochistan”, said the documents.
The sources said Qadir Baloch feared that percentage of majority and minority of Balochistan province could be changed with effect to sixth census. ‘Balochistan is already deprived and exploited very much’. Also, the minister expressed fears in CCI meeting that the rights of the people of Balochistan would be exploited due to collection and compilation of incorrect data of some important districts of the province by the census teams.
Taking cognizance of the matter, finance minister has asked the Balochistan chief minister to bring about some specific details regarding complaints in the inaccessible areas of Balochistan so that the issue could be addressed.
During the course of CCI meeting, KP CM Pervez Khattak said correct data of overseas Pakistanis was not being collected in the provinces which would cause significant impact on the results of the census. “The KP chief minister asked for certain clarification regarding census of overseas families which were duly explained by finance minister,” the documents revealed.
The documents further stated that it was settled between Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) and Pak Army prior to the initiation of census that collected data would be kept secret, while services of any private company would not be hired for the data entry process and the collected data would be saved in a modern software in consultation with Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication and the Pak Army. Moreover, after the completion of census, constitutional amendments and formation of new constituencies ahead of next general election 2018 would be introduced in the country.