The Computerised National Identity Cards registration in the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has increased by 73% since 2008, which resulted in higher turnout of 55% voters in the elections.
The number of CNIC holders, according to Nadra, has reached around 94.36 million against almost 54.1 million in 2008 according to the latest data of Nadra available with The Express Tribune.
There are over 53.28 million men and 41.08 million women CNIC holders as compared with nearly 33.3 million men and 20.8 women CNIC holders in 2008.
According to Nadra the ratio of women CNIC holders increased at the rate of 94% during the period under review, while the increase in the ratio of men having CNICs remained static at 60%.
The establishment of registration centres by Nadra in far-flung areas, particularly for women population, over the last five years is one of the factors responsible for the increased ratio of registration.
Besides, registration for cash benefits under the Benazir Income Support Programme (BIPSP) and various support schemes including Watan Cards also helped in higher registration of people with Nadra during the period.
In the past, majority of the voters, particularly in the rural areas could not cast their votes due to unavailability of the NICs. This time around, cards were made for other purposes and proved handy for casting of vote also.
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan the overall voter turnout in the general elections was recorded at 55% as compared to 44.4% in the 2008 elections.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2013.