There hardly may have been any unfortunate city as much as Karachi! Period. Known as Pakistan’s financial capital, yet still, this city is a political orphan whose problems hardly matter to the country’s ruling class. Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan with a population of up to 200 million as per Google in 2012, is still a city with the least importance in the country’s political landscape. For instance, Karachi’s number of seats in the National Assembly is 21, with a population count of 16 million as per the recent census report. Whereas FATA, whose population is 5 million, makes 1/3rd of Karachi share 12 seats in the National Assembly.
Karachi, which contributes more than 50% of its tax revenue, is the only urban center without the Bus Rapid Transport system in the country. A city that generates up to almost 1000 Billion rupees per year gets Rs 10 billion in return, ending with zero development and dilapidated infrastructure. Pakistan’s most diverse and vibrant city, and a city with the most educated people, still bar its citizens from getting into the bureaucracy and administration – all thanks to the unjust quota system. Known as ‘Mini Pakistan,’ the city’s political importance can be easily measured by the fact that neither provincial nor federal govt require the seats from Karachi to form a government. And what could be a better example than witnessing PPP ruling this province for the third time consecutively despite not having even 1/4th of Karachi’s total seats?
And just when not having empowered local government and a decentralized govt system are the critical issues that bring the city on the verge of collapse. To make matters worse, Karachi couldn’t even get the correct population count in the census 2017. Adding insult to injury, it got the forged census results, which undermines Karachi’s population, neither a blind person can believe!
Census, which blown the senses!
On 23rd December, after a lapse of three years, the federal cabinet finally approved the 6th National Census 2017 with a dissenting note from MQM — one of govt’s main allies. The delay of 3 years in pushing this exercise invigorates a rat’s smell to what were the reasons that didn’t let the census results get past from the cabinet?
Census at regular intervals helps the government-run the administration smoothly, provides detailed statistical data, guides in framing policies, and allocates resources. Furthermore, the population distribution by the demography factors into the NFC award, the delimitation of constituencies, and the allocation of seats in parliament.
The roots of any problem lie in knowing the intensity and scale of it. And how can we take the problems to the solution when we couldn’t know the accurate scale of it, especially when it’s about a megacity like Karachi.
The crisis in terms of public facilities Karachi is facing is not a secret to anyone. From outdated drainage systems to poor urban planning, water scarcity to lack of public transportation, not having empowered local bodies, and a small chunk of budget against giant challenges. Amidst all these problems, now not having a fair census count is to sprinkle the salt on the burn of Karachiites.
Karachi is the financial hub and called Mini Pakistan for a reason. In the last two decades, if there is any city that has witnessed the huge influx of people coming to find jobs and a shelter for their families and offered more opportunities, it’s Karachi. Yet still, if the population count in the recent census is showing only 40% increase in last 20 years, whereas, on the contrary, Lahore – the capital city of Punjab have gone to more than 100% person increase in the population, then I am sure there is definitely something wrong with the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and everyone involved in this census.
Note to state!
Already Pakistan’s history isn’t good enough in coping with the extreme challenges faced by the neglected communities or part of the society. The country has already paid a huge price against the decision of not accepting the representation from the larger ethnic group of the country.
Fair census count is a basic right of every citizen. The results of the recent census have been disputed by many political parties, especially ones that are representative of the financial capital of Pakistan. Already three years have been passed to this census, which was conducted without a pilot survey other than procedural anomalies, yet in all these years, there made zero efforts by the state to follow up this census by a post-enumeration survey (5% audit) as mentioned in the constitution.
Not having a fair count in the census is equal to the genocide of a certain community because there is no greater crime than denying the existence of a certain community on the basis of discrimination.