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10 million eligible citizens are missing from the Draft Voters Rolls

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by October 1, 2011 Miscellaneous

Islamabad: A FAFEN monitoring report on Friday said more than 10 million eligible citizens are missing from the Draft Voters Rolls currently undergoing door-to-door verification by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

It said the deficit between eligible and registered voters has arisen primarily due to lapses in the House Listing Operation conducted by the Population Census Organization (PCO) and citizens not registered with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).

FAFEN monitored the effectiveness of the House Count exercise as part of its National Survey on Democratic Behaviours, Attitudes and Practices conducted in July-August 2011. As many as 3,870 people over the age of 18 years in as many households were randomly selected at 387 randomly sampled locations proportionate to population in 272 National Assembly constituencies of the four provinces, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

Each household selected was observed for the House Listing Mark to assess the accuracy of an exercise that is critical to the headcount, which has recently been delayed. The survey had a 0.8 percent margin of error.

It said as many as 7.13 percent of sampled households across Pakistan were found to be not marked, raising the possibility that the population residing in these houses may not be counted, having future implication on the way constituencies are delimited. The persons residing in households that were not marked have not been included in the Draft Electoral Rolls.

The report said the greatest proportion of unmarked households after the House Count was observed in FATA where 32% of all sampled households were found not to have been marked by PCO enumerators. This was followed by Baluchistan where 10 percent of all sampled households were not marked. Similarly, 7 percent in Punjab, 5 percent in Sindh and 3 percent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of all sampled households were not marked.

As many as 82.24 percent of all unmarked households were located in rural areas and 17.75 percent in urban areas. The highest percentage of unmarked households in rural areas was found to be in KP at 100 percent, followed by 89.36 percent in Sindh, 86.99 percent in Punjab and 55 percent in Baluchistan.

The highest percentage of unmarked households belonged to Punjabi-speaking families at 25.36 percent. This was followed by 24.75 percent belonging to Pashto-speaking families, 19.56 percent to Seraiki-speaking, 11.23 percent to Sindhi-speaking, 5.43 percent to Brahavi-speaking, 4.3 percent to Balochi-speaking, 3.98 to Hindko-speaking and 3.2 percent to Urdu-speaking.

Extrapolating the data using the projections of Population Demographic Survey 2007 by Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS), the report said the number of households left unmarked by PCO enumerators may come to around 1.56 million across Pakistan – 1.02 million in Punjab, 0.09 million in KP, 0.12 million in Baluchistan and 0.32 million in Sindh. The number may be higher considering the projections that are four year old.

According to a cautious estimate using the population projection figures given by Ministry of Population Welfare, as many as 10.34 million people may be residing in the households that have been left unmarked during the House Listing Exercise – 6.56 million in Punjab, 0.73 million in KP, 0.93 million in Baluchistan and 2.1 million in Sindh. Projections for FATA and ICT were not developed due to lack of household size data. Of 10.34 million population projected to be living in unmarked households, 51.5 percent or 5.33 million people may be eligible voters of the age of 18 years or above – 3.5 million in Punjab, 1.07 million in Sindh, 0.35 million in KP, and 0.4 in Baluchistan.

These voters have been left out of the Draft Electoral Rolls being verified by ECP. The actual number of persons living in unmarked household may be higher as the projections are based on the household size data from 2007.

Another group of population that is missing from Draft Electoral Rolls is the citizens who have yet to acquire the CNICs, which is now a legal prerequisite for registration of voters. According to the latest NADRA data, the authority has so far issued CNICs to 87.98 million people – 50.34 million to males and 37.64 million to females.

NADRA claims to have issued CNICs to 99 percent of people in KP, 84 percent in FATA, 95 percent in Punjab, 87 percent in Sindh, 75 percent in Baluchistan and 99 percent in ICT. Nationally, 7 percent or 6.5 million people have not been issued CNICs.

The report said while there may be overlaps between population residing in unmarked houses and population not having CNICs, the two groups form a total of around 11.79 million people, which may be indicative of the persons who are missing from the Draft Electoral Rolls 2011.

It recommended that ECP should be better prepared for the Display Period to improve the quality of the Electoral Rolls and called for investing in the training of government officials to be deployed at these Display Centres to ensure that they facilitate eligible voters. The report also called up NADRA to launch nationwide campaign to enhance CNIC registration ahead of the Display Period, using all its static and mobile resources to reach out to areas where registration is low.

For more information, contact:
Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN)
FAFEN Representative
FAFEN Secretariat 224, Margalla Road F–10/ 3 – Islamabad
Tel: +9251 221 1026
Fax: +9251 221 1047
Cell: +92321 501 7355, +92301 854 9188
Email: media@fafen.org
URL: http://www.fafen.org

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