The 22 districts of Sindh, apart from Karachi, have lost over a million voters from the previous electoral rolls after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) revealed its new computerised list.
The election commission has yet to finalise Karachi’s list but it assured that the political parties will come to know after March 25. The commission finalised its verification process in February 16, when it announced that the new electoral results will be announced on March 18.
The district-wise breakdown of voters did show that there were only 398 Ahmadi voters in the entire province in the previous elections. The number has gained dramatically as the Ahmadi voters have gone up to 6,309 in just the 22 districts of Sindh. The number is likely to go up once the election commission publishes Karachi’s list.
According to the computerised electoral rolls based on the door-to-door verification conducted during January and February this year, the number of registered voters in Sindh has gone down to around 11.6 million in Sindh, excluding Karachi. Of these, 54 per cent are men and the remaining are women.
Since the number of registered voters has gone down from the previous rolls, it is believed that the digitalised system removed fake voters.
The provincial election office claimed that they have done all the work for the general polls. “We are ready and everything has been done efficiently,” said ECP Sindh director Muhammad Najeeb. He was confident that Karachi’s voters will be included in the final list after March 25.
The ECP is efficient enough to complete the election process within 30 days, he added. “This is not an ideal duration but we are ready for everything in the near future.”
The new list also revealed that all districts in Sindh lost thousands of voters but the figure in Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah’s district has surprisingly gone down from around 1.1 million to over 800,000 voters.
Najeeb did not deny that the ECP is facing pressures, but he was confident that the commission is an independent institute and it will work despite the pressure. “We work according to the rules and regulations and don’t have any space for such pressures,” he said. “Political parties held sit-ins outside the provincial head office but we continued our work smoothly.”
Everyone has a right to record their protests, he added.
In the previous general elections for 2007-2008, there were around 20 million registered voters in Sindh, including Karachi’s five districts. Karachi alone had over 6.5 million voters, while the remaining 22 districts of Sindh had more than 12.8 million. These districts include Sukkur, Ghotki, Khairpur, Nawabshah, Naushero Feroz, Larkana, Qamber-Shahdadkot, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Hyderabad, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Matiari, Dadu, Jamshoro, Badin, Thatta, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, Tharparkar and Sanghar.
When it comes to female representation, the province was not too far behind. Almost 42 per cent of Karachi’s voters were female while nearly 45 per cent of the total voters in the rest of Sindh were women. Interestingly, both the electoral lists - from 2007 and 2012 - failed to make provisions for the number of registered Hindu and Christian voters.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2013.