KARACHI - The Sindh Assembly on Friday echoed with concerns of possible delaying tactics from the federal government to carry out census in March 2016, with both Sindh Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Nisar Ahmed Khuhro and Opposition Leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan demanding an in-camera briefing over the issue.

The Sindh Assembly speaker also directed the minister to summon the officials of the census commission of Pakistan for an in-camera briefing over the arrangements so far made by them for holding census in March 2016.

Speaking on the point of order earlier, Khuhro said that it had been 18 years since the process was not held across the country and statements of further delay from the federal authorities had added more confusion.

“Census is an important issue for Sindh as it would further increase representation of the province and enable the provincial government get its rights as per the representation,” he said.

He said that the federal census authorities should be summoned in the provincial assembly and asked to brief as to what measures they had taken for holding census in March 2016.

Opposition Leader in the Sindh Assembly Khawaja Izharul Hassan criticised the previous governments for not holding census on time and said that even the PPP government held census process in 2011 but later annulled it.

“Now the chief minister had called an all parties conference for taking all the stakeholders into confidence,” he said adding that the CM should convey recommendations of the APC to the federal authorities in order to hold a free and transparent process.

He also called for an in-camera briefing of the census officials over the current progress regarding the census to be held in March 2016.

The House also witnessed a debate over the lawmakers who remain absent or are latecomers in the session with provincial legislators suggesting to cut their daily allowances. They also suggested for introducing biometric system for the attendance while the parliamentary leaders were also asked to ensure presence of their party members.

PML-F lawmaker Mehtab Akbar Rashidi even termed the members as ghost like ghost teachers and said that lawmakers are now being asked like children to come on time. MQM lawmaker Syed Sardar Ahmed also demanded the speaker to culminate the session by 1:15 on Friday due to prayers, and said that it had become a routine of the provincial assembly to run without giving any gap for Friday prayers.

Meanwhile, Senior Minister for Education Nisar Ahmed Khuhro while responding to a call attention notice from PML-F MPA Nand Kumar said that the province would start laying down 328 km road infrastructure with the cooperation of the Asian Development Bank.

“This project has been approved by the ECNEC in 2015 and it would cost around $200,” he said. Over another query of shortage of medicines in Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Local Bodies Minister Jam Khan Shoro said the shortage was created after the contractor had moved the court over payment dispute with the provincial government.

“We think they are demanding more charges, therefore; unless the issue is resolved, the supply of medicines to the hospitals could not be restored,” he said adding that he would also ask the opposition leader to resolve the issue.

The minister for parliamentary affairs also tabled Sindh Payment of Wages Bill for consideration but it was sent to the standing committee for further improvement after consent of the treasury and opposition benches. The speaker then adjourned the session until Feb 25.