05 Nov 2017

Electoral Literacy

Pakistan is on the road to Election-2018, and if it goes smoothly, it will be the second consecutive civilian to civilian transition in country’s troubled political history. The incumbent government will complete its 5-year constitutional term on May 31, 2018 and then within 60-day the next general elections will be held.

That will be a historic moment for long term consolidation of democracy and increased confidence of democratic institutions. Before the elections the country has undertaken first-ever parliament-led electoral reforms by unifying and consolidating electoral laws. The successful implementation of these reforms will impact the quality and transparency of the Election-2018. In 2017 the long delayed population census also took place and it is going to be the new base for redistributing of nation’s political wealth and fiscal resources. The mainstreaming of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with rest of Pakistan is also on the cards. It is expected that the political integration of the war-torn FATA after its proposed merger with Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa will bring peace and better life for the residents there, through better governance in the region.  

The revision of electoral rolls in 2017 revealed that more than 97 million voters will be determining the democratic future of the country in Election-2018. The electoral rolls also reveal that there is a huge gender-gap of 12 percent and many women voters are missing. These missing women voters call for affirmative actions to enroll them on urgent basis. However the positive aspect is that about 44 percent of the eligible voters are under 35, meaning thereby that young people will hold the decisive key to define and determine the future politics.

The Centre for Civic Education Pakistan through inter-linked interventions intends to encourage eligible voters to deepen their understanding about democracy and electoral processes, especially the reformed electoral system. Special focus will be out on youth and women voters to play their effective roles to assign futuristic meanings to Pakistani democracy.

Since 1979 the region where Pakistan is situated is experiencing turmoil, conflicts and lingering regional instability. Since 2001 there is a warlike situation. However the democratic commitment of people of Pakistan could be gauged from the fact that during this time they defeated two military dictatorships, namely; General Zia in 1988 and General Musharraf in 2008 and have exhibited their unwavering commitment for their right to be governed democratically. Therefore it is important for the global democratic community to support Pakistan in its democratic pursuits.