The Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Friday said it has decided to “take a stand” against the PTI-led government while reiterating its demands regarding the 2017 census.
Speaking on the issue, MQM-P leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said that his party has decided to reach out to the people of Karachi and other urban areas of Sindh to seek their opinion regarding a future course of action.
“MQM voters reside in several areas [population blocks] of Karachi, but their number was shown to be zero in the controversial 2017 census,” he claimed.
“The government must answer why they are not doing anything to address our concerns despite having the constitutional option to do so?” he asserted.
He said that the MQM wants to show to the government that Sindh’s urban areas were the biggest victim of the 18th Amendment.
“The 18th Amendment was a farce,” he said. “The last census was conducted after a gap of eight years, I guess the next one will also take place with a gap of eight years,” he said.
The remarks follow a Thursday press conference in Islamabad during which Siddiqui had claimed that the population of Sindh’s major cities was shown to be 25% less than the actual count in the 2017 census.
“Our doubts related to the inaccuracy of the 2017 census have proven to be true now,” he had said. “We had gone to courts to register our concerns even before the census had begun.”
Siddiqui’s comments came after the federal cabinet on Wednesday authorised the submission of the Sixth Population and Housing Census 2017 report for final approval before the Council of Common Interests.
The cabinet also decided to bypass an agreement with parliamentary leaders of the Senate to correct controversial results through a recount of the population in 5% randomly selected population blocks.
“We demand the government form a judicial commission to probe the rigged census,” Siddiqui had said.
“Right now, we are standing with the government, but we also have the option to part ways because we cannot protest against the government while staying in a coalition with it.”
He had also said that the option to cooperate with the government has ended after the cabinet’s approval of the controversial census, adding that the “census is a matter of life and death to [the people of Sindh’s urban centres].”