(Court): Intervener joins petition against quota system


Karachi:Former student leader and seasoned politician Dr S M Zameer on Friday jointed the constitutional petition of Pasban Democratic Party (PDP) chairman Altaf Hussain as intervener.

As per details, a bench of Sindh High Court (SHC) comprising Mr Justice Nadeem Akhtar and Mr Justice Mehmood A Khan heard the constitutional petition (1906/2020) of Altaf Shakoor. Dr S M Zameer’s submission to join the petition as intervener was accepted by the honorable court.

Later, the court adjourned the hearing by giving time to the petitioner to file notification and documents related to his petition. Pasban Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Altaf Shakoor has filed this constitutional petition in Sindh High Court (SHC) on census-related issues, praying for issuance of final results at the earliest so that the local bodies elections could be held as per schedule.

The petitioner has submitted that the Constitution of Pakistan gives an obligation of conducting census after every 10 years. He said the recent sixth census was held in April 2017 as per the directions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. It began on 15 March 2017 and ended on 25 May 2017. It was conducted by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

He submitted that, though the process was completed on time, but the provisional results were delayed by a month. Resultantly, different political parties raised questions about the credibility of the results.

The petitioner said that the census results also play a crucial role in the parliamentary democracy. The Article 51(5) of the Constitutional of Pakistan 1973 says: “The seats in the National Assembly shall be allocated to each Province, the Federally Administration Tribal Areas and the Federal Capital on the basis of population in accordance with the last preceding census officially published.”

“That, the population census has always been contentious in Pakistan as political parties in smaller provinces, especially Sindh, believe that their numbers have been manipulated to deny them their rightful share in federal resources. Due to the similar reservations allegations about procedural flaws, the results of an earlier census, held in 2011 were annulled.

“That, these reservations and allegations consequently resulted into judicial intervention, and the authorities were directed to conduct 2017 national population census with army’s tacit support.

“That, like past this time also different political parties expressed reservations over the validity of the census data, especially in Sindh, due to the absence of a post-enumeration survey. ”

The petitioner submitted, as the elected local bodies have already completed their term on 29th August, 2020, and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is under an obligation to hold the next local government elections within 120 days after the expiry of the term of elected local government bodies, i.e., 29th August, 2020.

“That, as the delimitation of parliamentary seats is going to be based on this census, non-redressal of the reservations of political parties and delay in final results has put a big question mark on holding of local bodies elections, especially in Sindh.

“That, the completion of the process of 5 percent validation exercise of the 6th national census and announcement of its results is still pending.”

The petitioner prayed that in the larger interest of the public and to ensure uphold of law, supremacy of Constitution and continuity of democratic process in Pakistan:

He prayed to order completion of the post-enumeration audit of five per cent census blocks of the 6th national population census at the earliest. He further prayed to order, announcement of the final results of the 6th national population census at the earliest. He prayed to order announcing the new delimitation of constituencies, based on the final results of the 2017.

He also prayed to order the holding of the new local bodies elections in Pakistan including Sindh as per their schedule, which is within 120 days after the expiry of the term of elected local government bodies, i.e., 29th August, 2020.