Exclude Afghans from census, BHC tells PBS

Published: March 15, 2017
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Army officials along with the deputy mayor of Quetta preside over a meeting for the census in Quetta. PHOTO: PPI

Army officials along with the deputy mayor of Quetta preside over a meeting for the census in Quetta. PHOTO: PPI

QUETTA: The Balochistan High Court (BHC) has ordered authorities to ensure that the Afghan refugees are not included in the population headcount that is to begin on Wednesday (today). The court has also asked to take all possible care in counting the Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs) of Balochistan.

The BHC division bench – headed by Justice Muhammad Hasim Khan Kakar and Justice Abdullah Baloch – issued this verdict while hearing a constitutional petition filed by the Balochistan National Party -Mengal central leader Ghulam Nabi Marri.

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The petitioner had maintained that holding of transparent census was not possible right now due to the presence of Afghan refugees in various districts of Balochistan as well as absence of thousands of Baloch TDPs from their native districts.

Mir Attaullah Langov, Agha Hassan and Jamil Ramzan appeared before the bench as counsels for the petitioner while office bearers of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) and other authorities concerned were also present during the hearing.

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The PBS presented a report before the court which said neither Afghan refugees nor any other refugees were to be counted in the census. The National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) has also devised a formula for counting the TDPs, it told the court.

Later, the court ordered authorities to make sure Afghan refugees are not enumerated during the exercise and to make possible counting of the TDPs. The bench noted that the TDPs could contact the relevant forum, in case of any complaint.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2017.

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