ISLAMABAD - A meeting of the Inter-Provincial Coordination Committee (IPCC) on Thursday witnessed a heated discussion on important matters including ‘controversial’ provisional results of the population census, import of LNG and the establishment of four Provincial Education Councils under the Higher Education Commission.

The 25th IPPC meeting chaired by Minister IPC Riaz Hussain Pirzada was attended by four provincial chief ministers, Law Minister Zahid Hamid as well as provincial chief secretaries.

Talking to The Nation, Pirzada said that all important matters including the population census results, the import of LNG and establishment of four Provincial Education Councils under the umbrella of the HEC and others were discussed threadbare. “Provinces have been asked to submit their reservations in 10 days so that it could be forwarded to the prime minister,” he said. The minister was optimistic that all important matters would amicably be resolved in coming meetings.

A source privy to the meeting said that Sindh was mainly not satisfied with the provisional results of the census. “They (Sindh representatives) asked the department of Statistics Division to show them ‘personal information’ of the population census but this demand was declined,” the source said desiring not to be named.

Citing the rules and regulations, he said that the demand of Sindh province was declined. The statistic department, he said, was ready to show the rest of the data related to population census to Sindh.

He said that efforts were made to garner consensus of all the provinces on the provisional results of the population census.

Major political parties in Sindh have rejected the results of the population census. 

The next meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) has not been planned yet. The next meeting will be scheduled after the 26th IPCC meeting will revisit some of the reservations of provinces on different matters.

According to the provisional results, Pakistan’s population has reached 207.8 million with an increase of 57 percent since 1998.

In the last 36 years, the population grew by 146.6 percent and a declining trend was observed in the growth rate in the two bigger provinces - Punjab and Sindh. The smaller provinces - (KP, Balochistan) and FATA saw an increase in population growth, according to the provisional summary results of the 6th population and housing census-2017.

Pakistan conducted its first census in 1951, second in 1961, third in 1972, fourth census in 1981 and fifth in March 1998. According to the Constitution, it is mandatory to conduct census after every 10 years.

Sources said that the matter about HEC and other similar bodies in post-eighteenth amendment scenario was also discussed in detail. The Planning Commission last month proposed to the CCI to establish four Provincial Education Councils under the umbrella of the HEC.

The meeting also discussed the matter related to the import of Liquefied Natural Gas, the supply of gas to localities in a 5-kilometre radius of gas production fields. Other matters of Ministry of Energy-(petroleum division), endorsement of a policy statement on gas sector reforms and other issues also came under discussion.