Balochistan’s Census Challenge

In a bold move, a petition has been lodged with the Supreme Court, challenging the endorsement of the 2023 digital census outcomes in connection to Balochistan. This legal action stems from the glaring infringement upon the fundamental rights of the Balochistan populace, as exposed by the census data. The petitioner, driven by the observed transgression, has implored the apex court to step in and safeguard these rights.
The petitioner’s appeal earnestly urges the Supreme Court to institute an unbiased body, entrusted with the pivotal task of meticulously scrutinising and confirming the veracity, openness, and impartiality of the data presented by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). To enhance this verification process, the National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) Data Centres are recommended as an independent validator.
Notably, the petitioner’s familial background—his father, a venerable legal representative of the Supreme Court and a prominent senator hailing from JUI-F, and his mother, a former member of the National Assembly—adds gravitas to his plea. With a rich legacy of championing the rights of Balochistan’s populace in legal and legislative spheres across the nation, their credibility is noteworthy.
The crux of the matter is the stark contrast between the provisional updates on Balochistan’s population—around 21.7 million—throughout the census process and the final, authoritative report’s astonishingly reduced figure of 14.89 million. Such a significant discrepancy has raised alarm bells, implying possible manipulation by respondents post-enumeration, deliberately omitting around seven million individuals from the official records.
This manipulation, if left unchecked, could have far-reaching implications. It has the potential to cast a long shadow over the allocation of financial resources via the National Finance Commission (NFC), rendering the distribution inequitable. Moreover, Balochistan’s representation in the National Assembly and the provincial assembly might be unjustly skewed due to the distorted data. This disproportionate treatment, on such a grand scale, reverberates as a violation of the Constitution’s Articles 25 and 27.
This petition is not merely about contesting census figures; it symbolises a fight for the rightful representation, resources, and voice of Balochistan. Given the historical disparities that this province has faced in terms of development and representation, the Supreme Court’s role in ensuring an impartial census process is paramount. The Court’s intervention can rectify the present situation and set a precedent for future census exercises to be conducted with the utmost fairness and precision.

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