PPP's 'threats' to quit government draw government's attention

PPP's 'threats' to quit government draw government's attention


Committee to meet on weekly basis to resolve issues

ISLAMABAD (Web Desk) – Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal directed the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) and National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to call on Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to address the province’s concerns in response to the threats by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to part ways with the coalition government if their reservations on the ongoing digital census were not paid heed to.

The minister issued the directives at the seventh Census Monitoring Committee (CMC), also attended by Mr Shah via video link, to review the progress on the census. The committee decided to meet every week to coordinate and resolve the issues arising in the census.

Read Also: Will not back digital census if reservations not removed: CM Murad Ali Shah

Talking to the media, Mr Iqbal said the census was a huge exercise that was being carried out at a cost of Rs34 billion. “It will have an impact on the future of the country so I cannot afford any kind of controversy surrounding it and want to make it transparent”, he added.

He said the government was carrying out the census only after five years as opposed to the normal practice of a 10-year timeline as the PPP had rejected the previous census of 2017. “The digital census is being conducted in line with the decision taken by the Council of Common Interests (CCI) during PTI’s tenure", he added.

He stated that the government was eager to address PPP’s reservations including the intimation to the head of the family about the number of their family members and daily update of the digital dashboard. “The government finds no issue in addressing them but the second demand could give rise to unnecessary controversies over the data of the process”, he added.

Don't Miss: Digital census raises aspirations for accuracy, inclusion

He noted that marked April 30 as the date for reporting the result of the census to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) so that the commission might be able to conduct a delimitation of the constituencies ahead of the elections in October. “But some nationalistic elements are sabotaging the exercise”, he added.

On the other hand, the MQM, another key partner in the coalition government, had also stated that if Karachi’s population was shown as less than a 40million in the census, it would accept the activity. A source inside the government functionary said that it was a provincial prerogative, and the MQM’s demand was the reflection of the ongoing tussle with the Sindh government.

Know More: MQM-P raises objections over census

Earlier, Foreign Minister and Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had asked the federal government to fulfill its promises otherwise it would be difficult to keep ministries.