Pak Sarzameen Party leader slams govt’s decision to approve 2017 census, announces protest rally

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Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal on Tuesday lashed out at the Pakistan government, announcing that his party would organise a big protest rally on January 17 against the recent decision of the federal cabinet to approve the controversial National Census-2017.

Speaking at a press conference at the party’s Pakistan House headquarters, the PSP chief gave a new date for his party’s protest that was earlier scheduled for January 10, reported Dawn.

Kamal not only slammed the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and its coalition partner Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), but also targeted the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for causing a growing sense of alienation among the people of Karachi.

“By approving the controversial census of Karachi, the PTI-led federal government is causing a sense of deprivation, which is paving the way for the MQM and PPP’s agenda of hate politics on ethnic grounds,” he said.

Kamal also disclosed that his party had written a letter to the chief justice of Pakistan, asking him to take notice against the ‘wrong’ census and its subsequent approval by the federal cabinet.

Slamming Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said there was no need of approving the contentious census results without conducting a five per cent audit of census blocks in Karachi as the upcoming local government elections could be organised in the same manner as the 2018 general elections were held, Dawn reported.

“You [PM] have been fighting for the eradication of dynastic politics for the past 22 years, but today when you got the chance you are strengthening the so-called ruling families,” he said.

The PSP leader said the efforts were being made to repeal the 18th Amendment, which gave more power to the provincial governments. However, the people of the country were not interested in saving it because the provincial governments occupied all resources and refused to devolve them at the grassroots level.

On Dec 22, the federal cabinet had approved the census results and decided to send a report to the Council of Common Interests for according formal approval, Dawn reported.

The MQM-P had dissociated from the cabinet’s move by writing a dissenting note and all major parties of Sindh including PPP, PSP, Jamaat-i-Islami are opposing the move and demanding a fresh census.

MQM-P leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said that this decision has ended their “option to cooperate with the government”. According to Geo News, Siddiqui on Thursday said that in the 2017 census, the population of Sindh’s major cities was shown to be 25 per cent less than the actual count. (ANI)