New voter lists for the upcoming general elections

Monday, October 29th, 2012 10:39:39 by

Several things are taking place in the process of next parliamentary elections for the first time.

The voter’s age has been lowered to18 years for the first and this is also the first time that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has prepared electoral rolls in coordination with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and also for the first time that voters’ photographs are being affixed against their names.

But what did not happen for the first time is that political parties have not awaken from their deep slumber to demonstrate their interest in the preparation of electoral rolls that are so vital for them to ensure the transparency of the next election.

No political party, without exception, has so far bothered to obtain the final draft electoral rolls released by the ECP on July 31 which is understood to have left out one after every seven voters – about 14 million of them. Based on the 1998 census, Pakistan’s current population should be around 180 million today.

About 51 per cent of the population is, according to the census report, aged 18 and above. Going by the census data, the number of eligible voters should be around 98 million but about 84 million Pakistanis are included in the recently released final electoral rolls.

That massive exercise was supported by federal and provincial governments; the army and other law-enforcement agencies generated data that is generally considered transparent and used by all national and international organizations for planning and resource distribution.

The picture emerging from the latest draft electoral rolls stated that one out of 10 adults has not been registered in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, one in five in Sindh, and one in four in FATA and Balochistan.

Based on population figures, around half of all adult women in Balochistan and FATA appear to be excluded from draft rolls while their ration in Sindh is one-third in Sindh and one-fourth in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.

It is national duty of political parties to ensure that no eligible voter, man or woman, is deprived of his or her right to choose their representatives. Will they cease this exceptional opportunity to help ECP in removing faults?

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