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.
(PRELUDE: I was thinking to study Pakistan’s political spectrum with all kinds of data and stats that are publicly available with the use of maps and GIS. My earlier post on areas of political influence for right-wing and left-wing was my first attempt to plot data on a map to study visually and derive conclusions to come to political answers. Most analysts we see on TV in Pakistan never dare to use scientific methods to study or back their analysis. This is an attempt to study only, and one may derive their own conclusions.)
If one is following Pakistani politics closely, he will notice that due to population size of Punjab the political spectrum is heavily in favor of Punjab. Being the power-center of Pakistan is the reason Punjab province is always hardest fought province politically in elections. It has also been criticized by both political parties and commoners in other provinces that Punjab drives the national policy but that is not hard to understand after having a look at voters density across Pakistan.* An additional map of Pakistan’s population density can be seen here.
This pie-chart depicting province-wise total registered voters as of latest 2012 voters lists also tell the same story.
The numbers clearly show a tilt highly in favor of Punjab both due to the concentration of the populations and voters density.
Given below is the map of last general elections result in Pakistan held in 2008 for national assembly seats/constituencies. We’ll take a cue from this map and will further our study to gauge the potential of third emerging force in Pakistani politics – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf or PTI – over the next few months. We’ll take current voters density from latest 2012 voters lists from Election Commission of Pakistan and will study PTI’s rise province by province as PTI releases its members’ numbers during its intra-party elections that are expected to last until end of January.
Swing Votes: Fake Voters and New Voters
According to a recent verdict by Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP), where it direct National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to help take out fake voters from 2008 voters lists, about 53% of the total votes were fake. Sindh, Baluchistan and FATA areas had more than half of its voters on the lists curbed as fake voters. This will further dent political parties’ prospects that have had intelligence agencies support and used fake votes as part of the rigging campaigns in the past; the biggest examples quoted in this regard quoted as electoral victories of PMLN in 1990 and 1997. A recent SCP order on famous Asghar Khan Case which proved that ISI – Pakistan’s premier spy agency – directed funds to its favored candidates in 1990 elections to help them win against Benazir Bhutto lead PPP. The money had favorable response and Nawaz Sharif had been able to form government and become PM for the first time. His second victory in 1997, a massive two-third majority this time, has also been criticized; although, he was poised to win but then President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari favored Nawaz Sharif and helped him achieve such a big manufactured mandate.
The chart below shows the percentage of fake votes for each province expunged from voters lists of 2008.
A total of 37.2 million votes were expunged and some 40 million voters were corrected and new voters added. This new voters is the votebank, the new emerging political force, PTI is eyeing in the next elections.
Swing Votes: Women and Minorities
Women and Young are the agents of change, it is said. According to latest voters lists, women form 43% of the total voters all over Pakistan. Women voters had not been active to the optimum level in the recent past and many eye potential of female voters especially the new political entrant PTI. PTI has allocated female seats in its ongoing intra-party elections where some 81000 female representatives will be chosen at the grass-root Union Council (UC) level. This may PTI an edge over other conventional parties who have selected, and not elected, their female representatives in the assemblies in connecting to the female voters in its area.
Coming to minorities votebank, there are 3 constituencies in Sindh which has over 100,000 minorities votes; Tharparker, Mirpur Khas, Sanghar, Umerkot. These areas lie in the interior/rural Sindh where PPP – a leftist party – dominates. According to Samson Sharaf, PTI’s minorities’ leader, “there are 8 NA constituencies where Non-Muslim Votes are more than 50,000. There are 75 NAs mostly in Punjab where the votes are between 25,0000-49,000. These are all swing votes.“
- Areas of political influence in Pakistan: right-wing vs left-wing (rugpundits.com)
- The curious case of Pakistani women voters (dawn.com)
- The era of the topsy-turvy lota voters (dawn.com)
- Multan’s vote collider and the Bosan particle in our politics (dawn.com)
- ECP’s new scheme: 25,000 more polling stations to be set up across Pakistan (thenewstribe.com)
- Pakistani youth to vote for PTI in next elections: Imran Khan (thenewstribe.com)
- With Pakistan Vote Looming, Ballot Symbols Prove A Tricky Topic (rferl.org)