PPP raises objections on ECP’s final list of NA, PA constituencies

Senator Taj Haider says delimitation can't be done on faulty, controversial population figures

August 06, 2022


The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) raised objections on Saturday on the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s final list of the National Assembly and of the four provincial assemblies' constituencies for the next general elections, based on the Sixth Population and Housing Census, 2017.

The ECP's list contains 266 NA constituencies, and 593 constituencies of the four provincial assemblies.

A day after the ECP issued the final list, the in-charge of the PPP Central Election Cell Senator Taj Haider said that the delimitation of the NA and PA constituencies cannot be done on the basis of faulty and controversial population figures.

In a statement, the PPP stalwart said that the Council of Common Interests (CCI) had accepted that the figures obtained in Census 2017 were incorrect and, while validating the provisional figures in spite of Sindh’s dissenting vote, had ordered a fresh census which was to be concluded before December 31, 2022.

Senator Taj Haider said that it was ironic that the part of the CCI decision that was controversial is being followed and the agreement to conduct a fresh census is being ignored on various excuses.

“Such unfair tactics remain unwise and counter-productive,” the Senator claimed, as it is evident that these give rise to many more short-term and long-term problems and divisive controversies rather than amicably solving existing problems.

“The smart guys of the Federal Statistical Bureau started with making an Advisory Group which did not include any demographer from Sindh,” Senator Haider pointed out.

Next, Haider said, they came up with a clever working paper in which the faulty de-jure counting method, which was the reason for rejecting Census 2017, was repeated.

Read ECP redraws constituencies for next elections

The PPP leader said that there are various definitions and interpretations of the faulty method, further complicating the issue. “The Bureau is trying to buy time and is now saying that a fresh census cannot be completed before the date given by the CCI, thus compelling the ECP to use incorrect population figures,” Haider said.

“Is there a single reason why the universal de-facto method of counting populations, which was agreed upon by all political parties in an agreement signed before the passing of the 24th Amendment, cannot be used?” he questioned.

Haider explained that this method counts citizens at the place they are present on the day of the count and does not miss a single person. “How can the Bureau explain the difference and the undercount of almost 30% in their population figures and the population figures of NADRA in the province of Sindh?” he asked.

“What makes them think that they can get away with this trickery?” Haider questioned, adding that they should realise the protest is before the count and no one will wait for the release of incorrect figures and undercounts.

Senator Haider revealed that in a recent meeting presided over by the Sindh CM, in which the Bureau of Statistics was present, an internationally recognised demographer from Sindh Dr Mehtab Karim had introduced a very simple census questionnaire form based on forms used internationally.

This questionnaire contained just nine questions instead of the 28 questions in the form designed by the Bureau, he said. In Haider's opinion, there should be no problem in completing the fresh census before December 31, 2022, as specified in the CCI decision. “Let us sit down and work out a step by step schedule for the same,” Haider suggested, urging that the time for concrete action can not be further delayed.

Senator Haider said that Sindh should demand an immediate CCI meeting on the single point agenda of using the agreed de-facto method of counting in the pilot project scheduled to be conducted by the Bureau of Statistics in order to ensure that the fresh census ordered by the CCI will be a true reflection of the actual population and its distribution.

“If the issue is yet to be settled, better settle it now rather than fighting over it after the damage is done,” he concluded.


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