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Sindh’s objection over 2017 census baseless: Asad Umar

Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar. Source: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar on Wednesday said objections raised by Sindh government on National Census 2017 are baseless as it was approved by the Council of Common Interests (CCI).

“Sindh was politicizing the issue by hatching conspiracies over the exercise,” the federal minister said while addressing the joint session of the Parliament. He presented a motion in the House to look into the reservations of the Sindh province over the census 2017 process.

He said the annulment of the 2017 census was not an option as it would have led to a greater loss for the Sindh province, resulting in the restoration of constituencies based on the 1998 process that would have remarkably brought down the number of their seats. “We have two options either to dismiss the entire process or approve it and move forward for a more transparent process later,” he said.

He said that the census was conducted during the previous regime and rather than deciding on it they left the matter over to the next government. “There are severe reservations on census and the government could hold another process to rectify the errors,” he announced.

Asad Umar said that the constitution calls for holding the population count once in 10 years, however, the PTI government could hold it after five years to address the grievances. The minister had earlier said the next general elections in the country would be conducted on the basis of a new census.

In May, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) had posted the final results of the 6th Population and Housing Census 2017 on its website, according to which the country’s total population stands at 207.68 million, with an annual growth rate of 2.4 per cent. The population includes 106.018 million males, 101.344 million females and 321,744 transgender persons.

After a three-year delay, the federal cabinet had approved the 2017 census in December last year in a meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement, one of the federal government’s allies, had issued a a dissenting note over the census. Since Sindh had opposed the exercise, it also rejected the release of the final results.

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