you're reading...
Blog, Featured

Areas of political influence in Pakistan: right-wing vs left-wing

This article is part of a series of evidence-based analysis of Pakistan’s current political spectrum with the use of statistics, GIS and data visualization. We will further explore the position of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s electoral tsunami in the upcoming general elections 2013 to forecast if it has a realistic chance to win the next elections. 

Just the other day I wanted to see how right and left political parties fared in the last general elections of 2008 but all I could find even on Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) website was just numbers and tables. So I thought I’d plot a map myself using data from ECP and this nifty tool GeodesiX for MS Excel which helps you plot data on Google Maps.

So, back to what I wanted to see; where areas of influence are located for each group in Pakistan. I must say here, this is not a consistent pattern but only a representation of the last general elections.

Here is the complete map of the Pakistan (district-wise):

  • This map only shows influence over Districts. If an area holds 5 constituencies and three are won by left-wing, it is denoted by left-wing color and so on.
  • Two major representations on the map are PPPP+ANP (left-wing) vs Muslim League factions (right-wing). Islamic religious parties should not be confused with right-wing and have been denoted separately.
  • Blank areas are either part of adjoining area’s constituency (in Baluchistan) or results withheld/cancelled (Waziristan).


One very important first up; all the areas for right-wing (Turqoise) in Sindh, KP and Baluchistan provinces belong to PMLQ (or sometimes referred as PML) and PMLN the faction led by two-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could not win a single seat outside of Punjab. Let’s see the map of Punjab first:

PMLN’s main area of influence is industrialized urban northern Punjab where they rule the roost. This area holds most financially-independent population segment in Pakistan which can be swayed in your favor if you can convince them. This is, traditionally, the area where new political forces emerge and target in the beginning. Southern Punjab is ruled by feudal and in my opinion, is politically closer to Sindh’s politics than northern Punjab’s. PMLQ, a breakaway faction of PML, which was previously in power both in Center and Punjab could lure in more feudal political power and some chose PPP. PPP has also attracted poor populace from southern Punjab for its socialist tendencies.

Northern Punjab, once Pakistan’s most prosperous region, is financially worst hit during PMLN’s current rule in the province and is getting out of their grip fast.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa & FATA

This is an interesting region. Although, orange area is comparatively smaller in size but holds the bigger chunks of population which had high percentage of urban populace. Although, the liberal forces of PPP and ANP were able to form a government in KP in 2008 but an alliance of religious parties, MMA, completely demolished them in 2002. Some are of the view that MMA alliance was backed by military dictatorship at that time otherwise the competition would have been tough. MMA, not participating as a complete alliance and missing their biggest party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), could not win anything substantial in the province.

ANP has always relied on its Pushtun Nationalist agenda but how badly they are affected, by their performance in the current government and dwindling security situation in the region due to ongoing war in Afghanistan, is yet to be seen. However, perhaps due to the war and failure of Pushtun nationalist parties, there is a major shift in mindset from Pushtun nationalism to supporting Center in the past 10 years.

Tribal areas elections are not contested on party basis until recent constitutional amendment and always had local independent candidates from the area. The winning candidates mostly go with the group that forms the government in the Center.


No major surprises here. Interior Sindh dominated by PPPP and urban centers of mainly Urdu-speaking populace of Karachi and Hyderabad by MQM. PPPP has had unflinching support in Sindh from the population but also employed feudal candidate tactic to strengthen their hold. Nationalists seem to have recovered and have gained good ground in the past 4 years due to PPPP bad governance.

Some areas where PMLQ could lure in feudal candidates were a plus for their party but the question is, if they can continue the trend in the upcoming elections with the current state of affairs at their party.

MQM, over the last 10 years, have strengthened their hold on Karachi and expanded to Hyderabad; first with the help of dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf and then due to general elections boycott of JI in 2008. PPPP and JI are other two strong political forces in Karachi, but MQM’s threat-and-rigging politics has scared their voters. In a fair election in Karachi, MQM may not win half of constituencies they have now, I reckon.


Not much political representation in Baluchistan map from 2008 general election. All candidates in all the parties are feudal landlords or Sardars supported by clans and tribal segments. For them it does not matter which party they are in as long as they get to stay close to the power and employ that to their benefit.

One important point to note here is the absence of stronger Nationalist forces of Baluchistan due to elections boycott. How will they fare in the next elections in 2013, is for all of us to be seen, but their prospects look brighter than ever before.

Note: I plotted the maps for my own interest. These maps of political influence exercised by left-wing vs right-wing, plotted district-wise; there has not been any political study that is publicly available to general public’s understanding for their geographical strengths. If anybody is interested to plot maps differently, let me know on twitter (@yasirsheikh) and I will create the maps for them. I do this as a fun project for myself and will be sharing more political maps in future (for example: current voters density according to latest voters lists and political influence over National Assembly constituencies etc.).

About Yasir Hussain Sheikh

Sells carpets and crunches numbers. Ecommerce and geospatial analytics.


6 thoughts on “Areas of political influence in Pakistan: right-wing vs left-wing

  1. Amazing work! I must grade this in terms of educating the mass.

    Posted by Jabran Rafique (@jabranr) | November 5, 2012, 6:30 AM
  2. If you could split the PPPP and ANP, it’d be great.

    Posted by Shahid | November 5, 2012, 9:44 PM
  3. That is really a good work and it do help alot. Looking forward for more data and information to be shared

    Posted by Ahmed Khan | March 20, 2013, 12:22 AM
  4. Seriously worthy maps … use to GIS. Thumbs up.
    One question, as im working on this topic, how come u get the requires data especially statistics. if so, kindly share.

    Posted by Atiqa Ijaz Khan (@AtixJazi) | March 7, 2018, 9:31 AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


November 2012


%d bloggers like this: