Punjab may lose 7 NA seats in new constituency delimitation

Half of Punjab left unlisted in census

Nazeer Kahut: Convener Punjabi Language Movement speaking to media at Lahore Press Club

LAHORE, April 22: More than half of Punjab has been dropped and left unlisted in the ongoing house-listing census process as the Population Census Organization lacks the staff and expertise for the task, claims the Punjabi Language Movement.

Speaking at a press conference here on Friday, convener Nazeer Kahut alleged that “insufficient” and “disorganized” enumerator of the organization failed to ensure complete coverage of each and every housing unit in Punjab in the given time.

He feared that the “grave irregularity” was set to result in drastically reducing Punjab’s population at the end of the census and consequently causing irreparable damage to the province’s interests both at federal and provincial level. Rejecting the house-listing process, he said the house census in almost half of Punjab could not be initiated either for lack of staff shortage or with the “ill-intent” to reduce the province’s population.

Challenging the census data, he said he was ready to prove it wrong through field check in the presence of media, judiciary, army and United Nations’ observers.

Mr Kahut alleged that the 1972 “fraud” pattern was being repeated by computerized manipulation of population figures as the authorities failed to cover the province with more than 100 million population.

He said the “engineered” house-listing was aimed at reducing province’s population to divide Punjab on a lingual basis and to deprive it of its due share in the NFC award and other grants, civil service and jobs in federal financial institutions, as well as seats in parliament.
Pointing out irregularities in the past five censuses, he claimed that in the 1951 census the Punjabi speaking people were 67.08 per cent of the total population, in 1961 it was reduced to 66.39 per cent, in 1972 to 66.11 per cent.

He said in 1982, the Punjabi population was drastically reduced to 48.17 per cent and in 1998 to 44.15 per cent as never in the history of any country the linguistic identity or ethnic groups had seen such a drastic fall in its population.

The Punjabi Movement leader demanded putting an end to “Seraikilisation of Punjab” and removing Seraiki from the census form declaring it a dialect like various dialects of Sindhi, Balochi and Pushto.

He sought a 30-day extension in the house listing period and increasing the number of enumerators to 100,000 in Punjab for covering the whole province.
He demanded intervention of the judiciary and the army “for the sake of justice and to ensure a free and transparent house-listing and population census”.


‘Punjab being discriminated against in census

Lahore,April 22,During the ongoing process of household census, more than half of Punjab has been dropped and left unlisted, as the Population Census Organisation with its insufficient and disorganised 30,084 enumerators have completely failed to ensure the complete coverage of each and every housing unit in Punjab in the given time, Punjabi Language Movement (PLM) convener Nazee Kahut, said on Friday during a press conference at the Lahore Press Club.

“Irregularities are being committed to reduce Punjab’s population at the end of the coming population census, which is bound to cause irreparable damage to Punjab’s national interests at the federal level and provincial level,” he said. Kahut said that household census in more than half of Punjab has been initiated either with shortage of staff or because of the intentions of reducing Punjab’s population.

Kahut said that the PLM demands the Population Census Organisation and federal authorities concerned to show to the world that when, where, how and by whom entire Punjab has been covered during the household census?

“The evidence reveals that all past censuses initiated in Punjab were linguistically engineered as they resulted in reducing the strength of Punjabi-speaking population from 67.08 to 44.15 percent. During the 1951 census, the Punjabi-speaking population was 67.08 percent.

During the 1961 census, it reduced to 66.39 percent and in the 1972 census, it was cut down to 66.11 percent but in the 1982 census, it was alarmingly slashed to 48.17 percent and finally in the 1998 census, the Punjabi-speaking population was pushed down to 44.05 percent,” Kahut said.

Curtsey:Pakistan Today, APRIL 23, 2011


Population census

Selected and translated by Shafqat Tanvir Mirza

ACCORDING to press reports, a population and housing census is being planned by the government. The first phase of the housing census is to be completed by April 10 while the population census will take off in mid-August. Satellite maps and relevant revenue records will also be consulted. This will be Pakistan’s sixth census. In our country … utter carelessness mars the record. 

Usually this job is entrusted to school teachers in urban and rural areas, who have to collect information from illiterate persons because of the low literacy rate. Once, the people of Punjab were not represented correctly and their mother tongue was registered as Urdu. It was sad to see Muslim and Hindu communities posing as Urdu-speaking and Hindi-speaking respectively. The only religious community which rightly got Punjabi as their mother tongue comprised the Sikhs.

Many years after independence, in some areas people were coaxed into getting Urdu registered as their mother tongue. Then again in some southern areas [of Punjab] the people were asked to get registered as their mother tongue an established and old Punjabi dialect. The aim was that in future Punjab could be divided along linguistic lines. …In the past, population figures were exaggerated not only in a provincial face-off but also in the case of cities versus the rural areas. Parliamentarians were also involved in [artificially] swelling the numbers…. [Because of such practices] the whole process became doubtful.

now that the sixth population census is being planned, it is necessary that facts and figures be honestly recorded. This is the age of computers and the government should not shy away from using advanced technology. — (March 24)

Source:DAWN.COM.March 24,2011

Punjab may lose four NA seats to K-P, Balochistan

By Irfan Ghauri

ISLAMABAD: Punjab’s relative success in controlling population growth may come back to bite it by shrinking its parliamentary representation in parliament.

Seats in the National Assembly are allocated to the four provinces largely on the basis of population. Punjab, being the most populous province, gets more than half the seats in the assembly.

This might also result in a proportionate reduction in Punjab’s share in the federal divisible pool in the National Finance Award. About 82% of the federal divisible pool is distributed on the basis of population.

While demarking constituencies, in order to reduce Punjab’s dominance in the Centre, the province was given fewer seats proportionate to its population size in 2002, when the last proper delimitation was carried out. That was on the basis of the 1998 census, which listed Punjab’s population at 73.62 million, while the total population of the country was 132.35 million. Based on the population formula, the 272 directly elected seats should have had average constituencies of 486,589 people.

With around 10% variation, constituencies are marked on the basis of population and geographical contingency.

Punjab would have 151 seats if the population formula had been strictly followed, but it had been allocated only 148 directly elected seats, with the other three adjusted among the smaller provinces and regions.

According to provisional data for the 2017 census, Punjab’s population grew at an annual rate of 2.13%, which was the lowest among all the federating units. It was also the only federating unit to stay below the national average of 2.4%.

If the population formula is followed now, and parliament decides to partially amend Article 51, which deals with the number of National Assembly seats, Punjab’s share will have to be reduced further due to its lowered share of the population.

Another option available with parliament would be to increase the total number of seats in the national and provincial assemblies, which seems unlikely. 

Gains abound

Apart from Punjab’s 148 seats, the National Assembly currently has 61 seats for Sindh, 35 for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), 14 for Balochistan, 12 for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and two for Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). There are also 60 indirectly elected seats reserved for women and 10 for non-Muslims.

If the assembly’s size remains the same, with the new population figure of 207.8 million, an average constituency will have 763,877 residents.

If the population-based formula is strictly followed in the new delimitations, Punjab’s population of 110.01 million people will have 144 seats to represent them – four fewer than its current delegation.

K-P might see the highest gains, with up to five seats being added to its current 35 in the National Assembly.

Provisional census results show an annual growth rate of 2.89% in K-P – the third highest among the federating units and above the national average. KP’s population now stands at 30.523 million – which is 14.69% of the total population, as compared to 13.4% in 1998.

Balochistan is likely to be the second-largest beneficiary, with its population meriting two more seats in addition to its current quota of 14.

Balochistan’s population stands at 12.344 million, or 5.94% of the total population, according to the 2017 census. The province’s annual growth rate remained 3.37% – the highest among the provinces and second only to ICT.

In the past 19 years, its population has grown by 5.8 million or 88%. Its population share in the 1998 census was only 4.96%.

Sindh’s annual growth rate remained 2.41% – slightly above the national average. The second-most populous province is home to 47.886 million people or 23% of the total population. They are represented by 61 MNAs while calculations show this figure should be between 62 and 63.

ICT’s population is now two million, which is 1.2 million higher than in the 1998 census. In terms of percentage, it has grown by 149% over the last 19 years. ICT currently has two seats in the lower house of parliament while its population share of 2.62 would suggest it could merit a third.

Meanwhile, Fata is already the most overrepresented region, relative to population, with 12 National Assembly seats. Fata residents only got the right of adult franchise in the 1997 general election. It was allocated 12 seats back then, which has remained unchanged in subsequent elections. Based on its population in 1998, Fata’s share was 6.52 seats.

Data for 2017 census show that Fata’s population is now 5.1 million – an increase of 1.8 million or 57%. The annual growth rate, however, remained 2.41%, or roughly equal to the national average. Its population share is now 6.5.

Long wait

The last proper delimitation was done ahead of the 2002 polls. Since no census had been held since 1998, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) only conducted readjustments of constituencies before the 2008 and 2013 elections by making nominal changes.

On a related note, an electoral reforms package passed by the National Assembly is in the Senate for a vote. It would make it binding for election authorities to conduct fresh delimitation after every census, which should be held every 10 years.

Under the existing law, the ECP is now required to use the final data of the census to conduct delimitation, which could take as long as six months to complete. The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the body in charge of the census, had earlier said that it could finalise the data by April next year, but the ECP wants the PBS to provide the data by October this year so that a fresh delimitation can be done.

If the PBS fails to meet this deadline, the ECP may have to settle with minor changes in case the 2018 elections are going to be conducted on time and hold off a proper delimitation for the 2023 elections.

Source:The Express Tribune, Published: August 29, 2017


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