LAHORE: In a shocking revelation, the Election Commission of Pakistan has found that only half of the country’s population is registered as voters. While there are understandably several reasons for the distressingly low number of voters ranging from their awareness, low motivation and logistical issues, it calls for serious attention from the political management to address this alienation.
According to an analysis of the final electoral rolls issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has the lowest percentage of voters in Pakistan in terms of its population i.e., 20 percent, while the Jhelum district of Punjab has the highest as 77 percent of its population as registered voters.
The population of Kohistan is 784,711 out of which only 154,620 are registered as voters while out of Jhelum’s 1,222,650 population some 945,508 are voters.
Known for a highly conservative society, Kohistan is considered one of the less developed and inaccessible districts of the country. As per the demographics of the district issued by the KP government literacy ratio (10 and above age group) in Kohistan is 11.08 percent with female literacy ratio of just three percent. In its 2017 ranking, Alif Ailaan (education advocacy group) ranked Kohistan at 141st position in the countrywide ranking out of 144 districts.
Separately in Balochistan, Kech district has the lowest percentage of voters i.e., 24 percent, FR Bannu in FATA 29 percent, Tharparkar in Sindh 35 percent and Rajanpur in Punjab i.e., 44 percent. In order words, Rajanpur has better percentage of registered voters than Islamabad and Balochistan.
Similarly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Haripur has the highest percentage of voters i.e., 66 percent, Orakzai Agency in FATA also 66 percent, Awaran in Balochistan and Karachi Central in Sindh have 63 percent voters each.
Among provinces, Punjab is on top on the list is with 55 percent of its population as registered voters, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA 50 each, Sindh 47 while Islamabad has 38 percent of its population as voters. Balochistan is at the bottom with 35 percent of its population as registered voters.