Sindh government calls for parliamentary debate on census results after CCI fails to address concerns
- Sindh CM says his government wants the census results to be properly taken into account before being approved.
- CM Murad Ali Shah says it is unfortunate that the cabinet committee unilaterally proceeded to finalize the census report.
- CM Murad says the government of Sindh has always maintained the position that its people have been underestimated.
The Sindh government on Saturday sent a reference to parliament asking it to deliberate on the results of the sixth census after the Common Interest Council (ICC) failed to address their concerns.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has requested National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Senate Speaker Sadiq Sanjrani under article 154 (7) of the Constitution to convene a joint session of parliament.
Murad said section 154 (7) states that “if the federal government or a provincial government is not satisfied with a decision of the council, it may refer the matter to Parliament in a joint session whose decision on that behalf will be final ”.
Read more: Karachi remains most populous city as government releases 2017 census report
The CM of Sindh said that in the federal legislative list, the census was numbered 9. He also explained that the ICC was “empowered” to have the final say on the matter, because “a genuine and accurate census is a prerequisite to both and legal rights ”because it has provincial representation.
He explained that the “creators of the constitution” would not have asked the ICC to look into the matter if they wanted to ignore the point of view of the provinces.
“The Sindh government believes that the views of the provinces should be duly taken into account before approving the census results,” Murad said. He also highlighted the decision taken by the ICC on the census since November 2017.
Murad said it was last year, in November 2020, the ICC was informed that a cabinet committee had been formed to review the census. He also added that he raised the concerns of his province during the meeting and that he was assured that the committee would address the concerns of the provinces.
Read more: CCI approves official release of 2017 census data
“It is very unfortunate to state here that the committee, instead of responding to the concerns of the provinces or even meeting unilaterally with the respective provincial governments, proceeded to finalize its report,” said CM Murad. He also lamented that he was “more unhappy” that the cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan, approved the committee’s decision.
The CM explained to the speaker and the president that the government of Sindh has always maintained the position that “its population has been underestimated”. He also said there is “empirical evidence on the record to support” the provincial government’s “argument”.
“Unfortunately, for the first time since the creation of ICC, a decision as important as any national cause has been taken by majority and not unanimously”, declared the CM. He added that during the vote, Prime Minister Imran Khan “chose not to take the vote of the three federal ministers present at the meeting”.
The CM also shared a letter from the dissenting note he wrote on the issue to Prime Minister Imran Khan last month.
Read more: Cabinet decision on 2017 census is ‘unfortunate’, says PPP
Murad said that after ITC approved the “controversial and flawed census,” the provincial cabinet at a meeting on April 13 decided to send the issue back to parliament. He also added that he had requested a joint session on the basis of this decision.
The copy of the letter was also sent to all MCs in the country and to three federal ministers who are part of the ICC.
CCI approves official release of 2017 census data
Last month, the federal government approved the official publication of the 2017 census results that had been withheld over the past two years, Federal Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister Asad Umar confirmed.
The decision was taken at a virtual meeting of the Common Interests Council (ICC) – a body that resolves power-sharing disputes between the federation and the provinces – chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Following the meeting, Minister Asad Umar held a press conference and said the majority of provinces agreed to accept the 2017 census results and officially publish them.
Read more: The good, the bad and the unusual of the 2017 census
“As the elections are conducted on the basis of the census, we will start preparations for the next census in September or October of this year,” said Asad Umar, adding that the work on the basic structure of the census will be completed within six. Eight years. weeks.
“We will complete the new census by March 23,” Asad Umar said. “The government will also form constituencies based on new census data ahead of the 2023 general election.”
He added that for the next census – which will last 18 months – the government will use technology as well as the census principles set out by the United Nations.
The reserves of Sindh
It should be recalled that at the 44th meeting of the ICC in which different provinces expressed their opinions regarding the publication of the census-2017 data, after which the council decided to convene a virtual meeting to make a final decision.
According to sources, while Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa insisted on releasing census data, Sindh demanded that the census be held in the province again so that the consolidated data can be released together. At the last meeting, Balochistan said it needed more time to deliberate on the issue.