Much has been said about delimitation of Karachi but the controversy seems to gaining pace. Election commission is all set to conduct house to house voter’s verification and somehow preparing to review the delimitation of constituencies in Karachi as well. Though in his recent statement ECP chairman in his “personal opinion” supported MQM’s stance and said that once delimitation is conducted after the census, then delimiting those constituencies again without holding a new census is “pointless.”
It is pertinent to mention that on Nov 26, a five-member bench of the apex court had observed that constituencies in Karachi should be delimited in a manner that they comprise “mixed population” to avoid political polarization.
And later on Dec 20, The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) had virtually isolated itself from other political parties when it opposed the issue at a meeting in which Election Commission had convened in this regard. MQM as a result decided to convince Supreme court on legal grounds.
At this point of time the people of Karachi seems confused about Supreme courts decision of delimiting Karachi only as population census are held in different countries of the world before the redrawing of constituencies and then demarcation of constituencies is carried out. On what legal grounds delimitation would take place is still a question to be answered by the Law hawks.
Not to mention that the election commission’s decision to review constituencies of Karachi only and that too without census can open a Pandora box.
As ECP reports for the General Elections 2002 gives province wise break down of complaints. According to the report, total 97 complaints were filed from Balochistan, 238 from Sindh and 165 from Khyberpakhtunkhwa, these statistics roughly indicate that there was nothing extraordinary raised against the ‘delimitation’ of the province.
Also, Pashtuns living in Balochistan have long contended that their number was not accurately recorded in 1998 population census as they had boycotted the census hence they are underrepresented. Likewise Karachi can also demand greater number of seats as a result of mass migration from up country during the recent years.
Karachites also ask whether Election commission would reduce seats from KP, Balochistan and Punjab and allocate those seats to the metropolis since most of the people moved to Karachi from these provinces in recent years.
When would Honorable Supreme Court enforce other parts of judgment where it said that land should be recovered occupied illegally is another question being pondered by the citizens of Karachi, as implementation of this particular judgment would bar illegal occupants living illegally in the outskirts of Karachi as well as on the mountains from manipulating the voting lists, using land illegally, stealing electricity and other resources being utilized without paying taxes.
Contrary to the current situation, just a few years ago the Election commission of Pakistan in its press release on May 23, 2007 had taken a very clear position against delimitation of constituencies in the absence of new population census.
This is the position which Election commission respectfully needs to communicate with the Honorable court as demands for delimitation could also be raised from other cities of Pakistan and it would be irrational to believe that except Karachi rest of the country’s constituencies were perfectly drawn.
In my opinion Karachi should not be given “priority” on any other city of Pakistan. Along with Karachi, delimitation of other cities should also be carried out as per “law” because without a fresh census, the act of delimitation, which in essence is meant to create equality in the constituencies, would be nothing but a futile exercise.