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SC to hear PSP’s petition questioning Karachi census results

SC to hear PSP’s petition questioning Karachi census results

ISLAMABAD: A constitutional petition filed by the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) challenging the sixth housing and population census in Karachi has been fixed for hearing by the Supreme Court after the general elections.

The petition filed by PSP chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal was returned by the registrar office on April 30 with objections. However, the decision was challenged by the petitioner seeking to set aside the same.

On Friday, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took up the matter in his chambers and allowed the petition to be fixed for hearing after removing the objections but after the July 25 elections.

In his petition, Mr Kamal had sought a directive for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to re-allocate the seats of national and Sindh assemblies on the basis of fresh Nadra data.

Petitioner Mustafa Kamal seeks directive for ECP to re-allocate assemblies’ seats of Sindh on the basis of fresh Nadra data

The apex court should also declare as one unit all the six districts of Karachi as treated in 1998 census and de-limit the same for the national and provincial assemblies, the petition had pleaded.

It contended that the 2017 census showed the population of Karachi at 16 million in 21 National Assembly seats which, according to the petitioner, was a drastic reduction in the population by 5.2m in accordance with what was determined previously.

The petition argued that as per the data provided by the National Database and Registration Authority and census results of 2.4 per cent annum increase, Karachi’s population stood at 23.9m which from all calculations was on the lower side since Nadra did not include persons without CNICs.

This meant that the data of population of Karachi must exceed the estimated population of 23.9m, the petition said.

According to the 1998 census, Pakistan’s 18 and above population share to total population was 51pc, while below 18 amounted to 49pc. If the provisional results were assumed to be correct, the situation in Pakistan might be considered to have deteriorated because life expectancy had dropped and birth rate had increased after 1998 due to the demographic change.

The petitioner requested the Supreme Court to order summoning record and data from the departments concerned, including the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Nadra and census commission, to ascertain the exact position of census in Sindh, delimitation and allocation of seats in the national and provincial assemblies.

The petitioner also asked the apex court to declare Rule 8 of the Elections Act 2017 and Sections 28 of the General Statistics (Re-Organisation) Act 2011 along with corresponding section of Census Ordinance 1959 as ultra vires of the Constitution.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2018

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