FAFEN asks ECP to probe voter registration disparities in different constituencies


FAFEN election audit

ISLAMABAD: The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) has asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to investigate the voter registration disparities in different constituencies in all four provinces.

According to a report released by the FAFEN, Punjab has the highest number of registered voters, while Balochistan has the lowest.

The upcoming general election will involve voting for representatives in 266 national and 593 provincial assembly constituencies. These constituencies were finalized in December 2023, following the official publication of the 2023 digital population census results and in accordance with constitutional and legal requirements.

The ECP released the final lists of constituencies for national and provincial assemblies on November 30, 2023. A corrigendum for nine constituencies was released on December 12, 2023, and a revised list of 13 constituencies was published on December 17, 2023.

Throughout the delimitation process, the ECP received 1,331 representations from voters, with 345 associated with 184 national assembly constituencies and 1,008 with 473 provincial assembly constituencies. The Commission took into consideration the arguments made by petitioners and made changes to the territorial limits of 66 national assembly and 204 provincial assembly constituencies based on 22 representations.

“Despite the ECP’s responsiveness to public representation, there are still 70 national and 65 provincial constituencies that exceed the legal threshold of a 10% variation in population among constituencies within an assembly. Additionally, there is a varied pattern in the population-voter ratio among constituencies. Any further delimitation will only be legally required after the new census,” the FAFEN said

As per FAFEN’s assessment of the voter statistics provided in the final lists of polling stations available on the ECP’s website, NA-67 Hafizabad has the highest number of registered voters (810,723), while NA-244 Karachi West-I has the lowest number (155,824).

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the highest number of registered voters is in NA-18 Haripur (724,915), while the lowest is in NA-12 Kohistan Upper-cum-Kohistan Lower-Cum-Kolai Pallas Kohistan (196,125).

In Sindh, the highest number of registered voters is in NA-209 Sanghar-I (607,638), whereas NA-244 Karachi West-I has the lowest number (155,824).

In Balochistan, the constituency with the highest number of registered voters is NA-255 Sohbatpur-cum-Jaffarabad-cum-Usta Mohammad-cum-Nasirabad, which has a total of 532,537 voters. On the other hand, NA-264 Quetta-III has the lowest number of registered voters at 196,752.

In Punjab, the constituency with the highest number of registered voters is NA-67 Hafizabad, with a total of 810,723 voters. The constituency with the lowest number of registered voters is NA-124 Lahore-VIII, which has only 310,116 voters.

Among the three NA constituencies in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), NA-47 ICT-II has the highest number of registered voters with 433,202. In contrast, its neighboring constituency, NA-48 ICT-III, has the lowest number of voters with 292,380.

Similar trends can be seen in the provincial assembly (PA) constituencies. In Punjab, PP-7 Rawalpindi-I has the highest number of registered voters, with 386,073. On the other hand, PP-11 Rawalpindi has the lowest number of registered voters at 125,852.

In Sindh, PS-110 Karachi South-V has the highest number of registered voters with 315,655, while PS-116 Karachi West-I has the lowest number of registered voters with only 43,045.

Moving on to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, PK-93 Hangu has the highest number of registered voters with 325,951, while PK-33 Kolai Palas Kohistan has the lowest number of registered voters at 43,481.

Lastly, in Balochistan, PB-51 Chaman has the highest number of registered voters with 194,081, and PB-45 Quetta-VIII has the lowest number of registered voters at 50,160.

According to a statement from FAFEN, when examining the voter-to-population ratio across different regions and constituencies, there is a diverse pattern. Punjab has the highest voter registration rate, with 57% of its total population registered as voters. Balochistan has the lowest voter registration rate, with only 36% of its total population registered. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has a voter registration rate of 53%, followed closely by Sindh with 48.5%, and Islamabad with a voter registration rate of 45.8%.

Out of the 216 NA constituencies with available population statistics, 45 constituencies have over 60% of their population registered as voters. 114 constituencies have a voter registration rate between 51 and 60%, while 52 constituencies have registration rates between 30 and 50%.

Notably, there are five constituencies with less than 30% of the population registered as voters, one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and two each in Sindh and Balochistan. NA-51 Rawalpindi-cum-Murree has the highest percentage of registered voters with an impressive 84.3%, while NA-244 West-I has the lowest voter-to-population ratio at only 16.5%.

FAFEN said that it was important for the ECP to investigate and address the specific reasons behind these disparities to ensure equal suffrage.

Additionally, it said, enforcing equal population distribution among constituencies, as outlined in Section 20 (3) of the Elections Act 2017, was crucial.

Out of the 70 non-compliant NA constituencies, Punjab had the highest number with 28 constituencies, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 21, Sindh with 18 and Balochistan with three.

Among the 65 non-compliant provincial assembly constituencies, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had 20, Punjab had 18, Balochistan had 16, and Sindh had 11.

FAFEN said that it could only analyze the population variation in 214 NA constituencies and 399 provincial assembly constituencies because the final list of constituencies (Form-7) did not include population figures for all constituencies.

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