Big difference in voter numbers raises doubts over rolls

January 11, 2013 - 5:37:30 am

ISLAMABAD: A yawning gap between the number of voters in most constituencies for Pakistan’s National Assembly on lists for the 2008 polls and those for this year’s elections has raised questions about rolls’ accuracy.

Both the increase and decrease in the number of voters in the rolls prepared for 2013 elections over that in the list for earlier elections exceed 100,000 in around two dozen constituencies.

The decrease in a constituency in Balochistan is as high as about 250,000 and the maximum increase of 192,000 is in a constituency in Punjab.

The decrease indicates bogus votes, including multiple and duplicate entries, and the increase shows eligible voters were missed out in the door-to-door verification exercise in 2007.

An analysis of both lists reveals that the number of voters in 112 of the 272 constituencies has come down in five years and increased in the remaining 160.

The constituencies of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, leader of the opposition in National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, federal ministers Qamar Zaman Kaira, Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Nazar Muhammad Gondal, Hina Rabbani Khar and Makhdoom Shahabuddin, former minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi and PML-N leaders Ahsan Iqbal, Khawaja Asif and Zahid Hamid are amongst the ones in Punjab where the number of voters has gone up by over 50,000.

The most significant decrease of 253,000 votes has been registered in NA-266 (Nasirabad-cum-Jaffarabad) in Balochistan. The number of registered voters was 651,000 in 2008 but has plunged to 398,000. Former chief minister of Balochistan, Taj Muhammad Jamali, had won the seat in 2008.

Another unusual decrease of 213,000 has taken place in NA-262 (Qilla Abdullah) in Balochistan where the number has come down from 392,000 in 2008 to 179,000. Haji Rozuddin of JUI-F had defeated Malik Usman Achakzai of ANP by a narrow margin of 162 votes in the last polls for the seat.

In NA-23 (Kohistan) of Khyber Pakhtuhkhwa, the number of voters has come down to less than half of what it was in 2008 — from 317,000 to 126,000. The seat was won by independent candidate Mehboobullah Jan in the last elections.

Another decline is in the NA-209 (Kandhkot-Kashmore) constituency where the number has come down to 136,000 from 283,000 in 2008. The seat was won by sitting Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani. The number of voters in the constituency of Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi — (NA-58) Attock — has declined from 315,000 in 2008 to 190,000.

Other constituencies where voters’ number has dropped by over 100,000 include NA-263, NA-259 and NA-267 (Balochistan), NA-216, NA-231, NA-233 and NA-237 (Sindh).              internews