ISLAMABAD: Pointing out that voter turnout during the 2015 local government elections remained significantly low in several urban areas, a senior official of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday highlighted the need for educating people about the importance of vote.

Making a presentation at the launch of a report on local government elections, ECP Additional Secretary Fida Muhammad said that the voter turnout in 2013 general elections was 51.17 per cent which slipped to 46.52pc in the local government polls held in 2015.

The statistics show that Punjab was the only province where the turnout in LG elections witnessed an upward trend. It remained 61.11pc as compared to 58.38pc in the general elections.

In Sindh, the turnout dropped from 51.58pc to 46.26pc, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from 44.64pc to 43.52pc, in Balochistan from 38.97pc to 26.84pc and in Islamabad Capital Territory from 62.29pc to 54.87pc.

The statistics show disparity in voting patterns between urban and rural areas.

In Lahore’s union council No 191 Ghowind and UC Wagah, the turnout was 70pc and 66pc, respectively. In UC 209 Model Town and UC 203 Gulberg-III the voter turnout was as low as 37pc and 39pc, respectively.

In Karachi, the overall turnout remained 36pc. In district East (PECHS and KDA Scheme) the turnout was mere 29pc. The same was the case with district South (Defence and Bahria) where it remained 30pc.

In KP, the overall turnout was 43.52pc. In Peshawar, it was 32.72pc. In contrast the turnout in Dera Ismail Khan, a district with a comparatively low literacy rate, was 57.77pc.

In Islamabad too, the turnout in Saidpur and Mughal villages was as high as 68pc followed by 63pc in Pind Baghwal. But in the posh F-10 area it remained 27pc.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2016