Election 2013: The youth vote

Published: April 3, 2013
One thing is clear: the voices of this generation can no longer be discounted.

One thing is clear: the voices of this generation can no longer be discounted.

One thing is clear: the voices of this generation can no longer be discounted. 5,271 was the total  number of people 

With the polls almost upon us, several questions have emerged:

Is this really a youth election?

Who is the average Pakistani who will decide the fate of the elections?

Here, The Express Tribune brings to you a visualisation of a report launched by the British Council Pakistan today. This research, called The Next Generation Goes to the Ballot Box, focuses on the youth participating (or not) in the upcoming polls. The first report was published in 2009. As Pakistan stands at the brink of transformative change, one thing is clear: the voices of this generation can no longer be discounted. This is a generation that has been scarred by terrorism, inflation and instability, and yet its members still plan to vote.

A conservative generation


2007: 50% of the youth thought the country was heading in the wrong direction

2013: 94% of the youth thought the country was heading in the wrong direction

Today, 64% of the male youth describe themselves as conservative/religious, whereas 75% of women feel the same.


Some key points: 

• 1/4 of urban young people have an interest in politics.

• 3/4 of the youth who expressed an opinion in our survey worry about exposure to foreign media, films, music and ideas.

• Youth with access to cable TV were less conservative than those who only had access to terrestrial (conversely, terrestrial watchers were more optimistic than cable viewers). Owners of mobile phones are more likely to want to vote, more interested in politics and more likely to believe they can change Pakistan.

Economic woes, population growth 

It’s the economy

In the last report the youth mentioned the greatest source of anxiety for them was not terrorism, but insecurity with regards to jobs, exams and justice. Now their greatest worry is not terrorism again, but rather rising prices, inflation. 

Key figures: 

Only 10% of the youth feel the country has enough jobs to go around (of the women only 5% feel the same).

Overall just 1 in 10 have full time contracted jobs

86% of women describe themselves as homemakers

Growing without a safety net

Since 1947 Pakistan’s population has grown by five times (from 35 million) and by 2060 Pakistan’s population will be 285 million (61% growth). Today only 8 million people are over the age of 65 by 2060 that figure will be 40 million and start rising steeply then on. By the time a baby born today grows old, Pakistani’s aged 65 and above will outnumber those under 18. Pakistan could thus become the first country to grow old before it becomes rich.

Some key figures:

• Currently two-thirds of Pakistani children fail to get enough food to grow normally, with one in five being severely stunted.

• Of the middle class youth 57% worry about their access to consumer goods, 76% to fuels for cars and motorcycles.

Political inclinations

When asked about the best political system for Pakistan:

29% believe in democracy as a system

32% believe in military rule.

38% believe in Islamic Shariah

Approval of Institutions & Democracy

When asked about the approval of Pakistan’s most powerful institutions, the opinion of political institutions was highly unfavourable


The generation today

A pessimistic generation

In the last Pakistan: The Next Generation Report, pessimism was a worrying trend. The findings this time around are
significantly worse

An altered voter base

In Pakistani families across the board, the most educated are those below the age of 30, giving a unique opportunity for parties to address them who may look beyond traditional voting parameters.

Key points:

• 13 million new first time voters from the survey.

• 25 million registered voters between the ages of 18 and 29 years of age.

• Only 40% are certain to vote, whereas 21% are undecided.

A generation marked by violence

When the youth were asked about the most important events in their lifetimes, they didn’t point towards a positive event or collective achievement. Rather, it was the earthquake, the floods and the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. A quarter of all young people have been directly affected by violence, or witnessed a serious violent event.


Published in The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2013.

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Reader Comments (37)

  • Qasim
    Apr 3, 2013 - 10:08AM

    I we young for change and you?????

    No more tested parties change is always good.


  • salman ahmed
    Apr 3, 2013 - 10:11AM

    the youth will vote imran khan !!


  • Apr 3, 2013 - 10:14AM

    Trust me If all the youngster participate in upcoming election actively by voting to the right people instead of sleeping considering election day as a holiday, we will see the system much improved in future.


  • Karachiite
    Apr 3, 2013 - 10:18AM

    When the youth of Karachi will go out on the election day to have their voice heard and vote for change, they would find out that their vote has already been casted (and voices already heard)!!
    Jiye Karachi!


  • Elections 2013
    Apr 3, 2013 - 10:26AM

    The young people of Pakistan need to do everything they can, every minute of the day, to take the country back in their own hands. It is their country to grow up in. They can’t keep thinking that the “way it was” or the “status quo” will do anything for them. They need to vote with their hearts and remember when they’re young, not to get jaded by cynicism. Vote with their hearts, vote for change, vote for hope, vote for what they truly believe in deep down.


  • Paindoo
    Apr 3, 2013 - 10:38AM

    It is the do or die situation for the youth of Pakistan. If they want to see the Pakistan their way, they have to come out and vote for their better future. Otherwise, there is no light at the end of tunnel.


  • buttler
    Apr 3, 2013 - 10:39AM

    I wish that this time this silent MAJORITY (YOUTH) turns the table and give chance to PTI and if PTI does not perform then kick them out next time…

    We should set strong standard of voting in country…so no politicain can ditch us…


  • Faisal
    Apr 3, 2013 - 10:45AM

    Religion has always been a backbone of our society and it will always be !! that’s a divine truth and it can’t be denied !!


  • bilal
    Apr 3, 2013 - 10:58AM



  • Imran Sarmad
    Apr 3, 2013 - 11:09AM

    This time youth vote for change. Everyone sees when Youth Sonami hit PTI on 11th May and kick all other parties. INSHALLAH


  • SNJ
    Apr 3, 2013 - 11:23AM

    I am Youth and I will Vote for PPP!


  • Zeeshan
    Apr 3, 2013 - 11:26AM

    Youth has to be decisive about vote and they must decide to vote. Vote for PTI. Bring change.


  • Abdullah
    Apr 3, 2013 - 11:32AM

    Youth of Pakistan should learn from History and know how many times people have been let down by slogans of ‘change’.


  • bilal
    Apr 3, 2013 - 11:43AM

    instead of voting few families of Pakistan we will support IK for a change


  • Elections 2013
    Apr 3, 2013 - 11:55AM

    Many history-making events in the west have been driven by the youth for centuries.


  • Born Political
    Apr 3, 2013 - 12:43PM

    I am young and I will vote for PML-N.


  • bilal
    Apr 3, 2013 - 1:01PM

    why PPP any close affiliation with the party?


  • Pakistani
    Apr 3, 2013 - 2:01PM

    Imran Khan


  • fauzan
    Apr 3, 2013 - 3:08PM

    5 votes from my home for PTI. insha Allah


  • Sawabi
    Apr 3, 2013 - 3:13PM

    Youth, please wake up before 11 a.m. on 11 May


  • Abdullah
    Apr 3, 2013 - 3:31PM



  • Iram
    Apr 3, 2013 - 3:35PM

    I will go door to door and beg votes. Boys and girls go to Uni, and colleges and visit markets, stand on signals and make mind of the people to vote for CHANGE. Be a proud Pakistani and be the part of the change. Mind it we have a last chance, if not know then never.


  • Ali Abbasi
    Apr 3, 2013 - 3:40PM

    Amazing to see that people are so favourable of implementing Islamic Shariah and are so favourable in their views of religious institutions. All the brainwashing’s clearly working.


  • Ibrahim
    Apr 3, 2013 - 4:03PM

    The only hope for youth is Imran since he has delivered something in the form of detailed policy papers and intra party elections for curious and mature youth!!


  • omair shahid
    Apr 3, 2013 - 4:15PM

    In order to avoid this to happen we all should go as early as possible to cast there vote


  • Saad Nazim
    Apr 3, 2013 - 4:26PM

    My vote is for Imran Khan


  • saad
    Apr 3, 2013 - 4:54PM

    I havent voted ever but this time my vote is for Musharraf (or his ally)


  • Kazim Muneer
    Apr 3, 2013 - 5:25PM

    Please do Vote on May 11!
    Vote for your Favorite Candidate or Party.
    Or even Vote “None of the Above” to register your mistrust in the Candidates.
    But Do Vote as it will positively change the direction of our Country!!!!


  • Apr 3, 2013 - 6:36PM

    In sha allah the youth will vote for imran Khan and he will win


  • Salman Hasan
    Apr 3, 2013 - 6:54PM

    I grew up as a PPP supporter from the time of ZAB to BB. Now I have switched parties as the ideology of PPP has changed from socialism to corruption. Its time to bring these tried parties down and give chance to new faces from PTI. Imran Khan is honest and credible compared to any other leaders in Pakistan. He will be the leader of the PTI for two terms and wants to give this nation a 3rd option so that people do not continue to make same mistakes which they made for last 40 plus years. VOTE PTI and bring NAYA NIZAM FOR A NEW PAKISTAN.


  • Rida
    Apr 3, 2013 - 7:18PM

    Two things: I am very confused as to why you would title this demographics-oriented expository article as you chose to do. The youth has a role to play, granted, but a role in part, not whole. And to address a comment from within your rather alarmingly informative piece: “This is a generation that has been scarred by terrorism, inflation and instability, and yet its members still plan to vote”- voting is a constitutional/ civil right of a democratic society; and if the last five years “validated” us as one, voting is not a giant feat being accomplished by a battered nation but a regular exercise of a right granted to us as being citizens of this great nation. If we havent done so in the past, we should be criticised for that but on no rational basis should we be lauded for deigning to vote now when it is crucial to do so. Vote, because you should, not because you have to.


  • will
    Apr 3, 2013 - 7:21PM

    @saad: shaabaash


  • non political
    Apr 3, 2013 - 8:27PM

    Do the people of pakistan still want to vote PML N–RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi Bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday confirmed the bails of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Hanif Abbasi, former Drug Controller, Sheikh Ansar and owner of the Lahore Pharmaceutical Company, Nadeem Zafar in the Ephedrine quota case.
    A two-member bench comprising Justice Sagheer Ahmed Qadri and Justice Ali Baqir Najafi confirmed the bails of the accused against surety bonds of Rs 500,000 and two guarantors each.
    Prosecutor General of the Anti Narcotics Force (ANF), Raja Shahid contended that the record submitted by Hanif Abbasi about usage of the allotted quota was “bogus.”
    He said there were indications that the quota was smuggled to a neighbuoring country instead of using it in manufacturing medicines locally.
    Counsel for the PML-N Parliamentarian, Sardar Ishaq Khan pleaded there was complete record of the medicines manufactured with the Ephedrine chemical and its distribution.
    On July 29, the ANF had registered a case against Hanif Abbasi for his alleged involvement in misusing 500 kg ephedrine, which was to be used in manufacturing medicines locally.


  • Muslim Leaguer
    Apr 4, 2013 - 1:14AM

    Based on the actual performance, the youth will Vote for PML-N InshaAllah.
    Barring a few pseudo-intellectual “burger kids” of PTI, the youth has recognised the true leaders who have performed education reforms in the form of

    Daanish Schools, IT labs in over 4000 schools, distributing laptops among bright & talented students, arranged free scholarships for the poor students to study at world class universities like FAST, LUMS, KEMC, AKU etc.

    The health sector reforms include construction of state of the art hospitals in different cities of Punjab and providing free medicines to patients, complete eradication of epidemics like Dengue etc (when the charity hospital of Imran Khan was overcharging 10 times).

    Other developments include superb roads in different cities from Attock & Taxila to Bhawalpur & Dera Ghazi Khan. Above all, introducing Metro Bus to bring Lahore at par with other modern cities of the world.

    The youth programs organised by CM-Shahbaz Sharif brought 8 world records by the youth of Pakistan…. Youth will vote for prosperity and will Vote for PML-N. InshaAllah.


  • muhammad rafique
    Apr 5, 2013 - 8:13PM

    my vote for better pakistan to any good leadre which gave us Islamic culture in Pakistan


  • Adrees
    Apr 14, 2013 - 3:45PM

    My vote to PTI Inshallah


  • Adrees
    Apr 14, 2013 - 3:46PM

    My vote to PTI inshallah


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