With the fifth-highest number of registered voters globally, Pakistan has a record 128 million people, constituting over half of its total population, registered as voters for the upcoming general elections marking a substantial increase of 22.5 million voters including 12.5 million women added since 2018, said Free and Fair Elections Network (FAFEN) on Wednesday.
According to a FAFEN report titled “Electoral Rolls, General Election 2024,” this unprecedented surge brings the total number of registered voters to 128,585,760 in 2024, marking a significant rise from 106,000,239 in 2018 and 86,189,828 in 2013 making Pakistan fifth largest democracy in the world trailing India, Indonesia, the United States of America and Brazil.
This is also the first time that Pakistan registered more women voters as compared to men in-between two elections. Presently, the number of registered voters constitutes 53.2 percent of the 241.49million population. Nevertheless, there are regional disparities in voter-to-population ratios, with Punjab (57 percent) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (53 percent) registering over half of their populations as voters. Sindh and Islamabad have voter-to-population ratios close to 50 percent, while Balochistan lags behind with 36 percent population registered as voters.
The voter-to-population ratio can be indicative of potential under-registration with a caveat. The ratio only accounts for voters registered in their native districts and not those who are registered as voters on their temporary addresses outside their native districts. At the district and constituency levels, the disparity in voter proportions becomes increasingly apparent.
Among the 136 districts analysed by FAFEN, 78 have more than half of their populations registered as voters, while nine districts including Upper Kohistan, Lower Kohistan, Kohistan Palas, Kech, Kharan, Panjgur, Sherani, Surab and Washuk have less than 30 percent population registered. A comparable trend is noted at the National Assembly constituency level, with 159 out of 266 constituencies registering over 50 percent of their populations as voters.
FAFEN acknowledges the progress made in women’s voter registration but calls for continued efforts to address persistent challenges, particularly in regions and age groups where gender gaps are more pronounced.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2024