Young voters may decide outcome of 2018 polls

eral elections, as 42.4 million out of the nearly 97 million registered voters in the country are between the ages of 18 and 35, statistics released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) reveal.

According to updated voters’ statistics sorted by age group, young people constitute 44pc of all registered voters, which means that their active participation in the electoral process will have a significant impact on election results.

At least 15pc, or 14.7m of these voters are between the age bracket of 18-25 years, while 29pc or 27.7m are aged between 26 and 35.

ECP statistics reveal voters aged 18-35 constitute 44pc of electorate

The highest ratio of voters aged less than 25 years is in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), where they constitute 473,295 or 23pc of the total 2,142,552 registered voters.

This ratio is 18pc in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 15pc in Punjab and Balochistan and 14pc in Islamabad. The lowest ratio of youngest voters is in Sindh, where only 2.6m or 12pc of at total 20.6 million voters are young people.

In Fata, which has 38pc women voters and 62pc men, the gulf between the two genders is vast in the 18-25 age group. Out of a total 473,295 voters in this category, women’s share is just 135,984 compared to 337,311 male voters.

Things are not different in KP, Balochistan and Sindh either, where the overall ratio of female voters is 43pc, 42pc and 45pc, respectively.

The number of men between 18-25 years is more than double that of women voters. In KP, out of a total of 2.53m young voters, the number of men comes to around 1.7m against 819,323 female voters.

Similarly in Balochistan, the total number of voters in this age bracket is 539,968, of which 365,783 are men and merely 174,185 are women. The total number of voters of this age in Sindh is 2.55m, which includes 1.69m men and 857,114 million women.

In Punjab too, there is a significant gap. Of the 8.50m registered voters in the 18-25 age group, 5.6m are men while 2.9m women.

In the category of those aged between 26-35 years, Fata and Balochistan are ahead of all other areas, with 31pc of their voters falling in this age group. The ratio is 30pc in KP, 29pc in Sindh and 28pc in Punjab and Islamabad.

The total number of voters in the 36-45 age group is 20.3m, constituting 21pc of all the entries on the electoral rolls.

The highest ratio of such voters is in Sindh, where voters aged 36-45 constitute 4.7m or 23pc of the total electorate.

The ratio for such voters is 21pc each in Punjab and Balochistan, 20pc in Islamabad and 19pc each in KP and Fata.

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2017