ECP, Nadra fail to register all eligible voters in 102 of 134 districts: Report

Flawed voter registration puts millions at risk of disenfranchisement in country

PESHAWAR   -  A report from the Pattan Development Organization has highlighted critical issues in Pakistan’s voter registration system, potentially affecting 13 million eligible voters, creating an environment ripe for electoral rigging and corruption in future general elections. According to the report, the ECP and NADRA failed to register all eligible voters in 102 of 134 districts, with 17 districts reporting more registered voters than eligible individuals.

The problem is most pronounced in Balochistan, where about one-third of the eligible population could be excluded from the electoral process in 31 districts. Even in Punjab, which has strong infrastructure, half of its 40 districts have low registration, while 12 districts report over or exceptionally over-registration. In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 21 out of 35 districts show significant disenfranchisement, with low or very low registration in five districts, low registration in 16, and over or exceptionally over-registration in five. Sindh is the exception, showing no over-registration but underregistration in 24 districts.

The report underscores significant disparities in the number of registered voters at district and constituency levels, raising concerns about potential voter manipulation. The registered voter population substantially exceeds the actual demographic in some cases, indicating the presence of dubious votes. These findings could have a major impact on the outcome of future elections in the affected districts. Pakistan primarily uses a first-past-the-post system, where even minor changes in voter registration can significantly influence election results.

According to the latest census, Pakistan’s population in 2023 was 241.49 million, with 127 million registered voters, equivalent to 52% of the total population. Roughly 42% of Pakistan’s population is under the age of 18, meaning 58%, or 140 million people, were eligible to vote in 2023. The failure to register 13 million eligible individuals raises major concerns. The skewed female-tomale ratio further complicated the issue, with a ratio of 46:54, resulting from poor registration.