Salman Khan
Salman Khan

ISLAMABAD: With Lahore in the lead, nine districts in the country account for a gap of over three million between male and female voters — around one-fourth of the total difference of 12.41m between the two sets of voters.

The district-wise data of voters released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) reveals that as many as 16 districts have a gender gap of over 200,000 with two districts of Punjab — Lahore and Faisalabad — accounting for a gap of over 1m voters. These 16 districts include 14 from Punjab and one each from Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

However, on the bright side the difference in many districts, which had high gender gap in 2018, has narrowed down.

The total number of registered voters in Lahore is 5.94m — 3.25m of them men and 2.69m women — taking the gender gap to 556,934. The gap was as high as 648,421 prior to the 2018 general elections.

In only 24 districts across the country the proportion of women voters is over 45pc

In Faisalabad, the gap stands at 461,207. The total number of registered voters in the district is 4.84m — 2.65m male and 2.19m female voters. The gap stood at 507,920 in 2018.

In Gujranwala district, the number of male voters is 1.7m while those of female voters is 1.34m. The difference between them comes to 361,530, down from 373,920 in 2018.

In Rahimyar Khan, the gap has widened from 0.313m in 2018 to 0.351m now. The number of male voters in the district is 1.53m as compared to 1.18m women voters.

In Karachi (West), the number of male and female voters is 973,255 and 672,932, respectively, and the difference between them is a little over 3m (300,323). The gap was 333,105 in 2018.

The gap between the number of male and female voters in Kasur district has gone up from 0.262m in 2018 to 0.271m now. The number of male and female voters in the district is 1.14m and 0.873m, respectively.

Peshawar is the only district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with a gender gap of over 200,000. The gap has widened from 0.245m in 2018 to 0.261m now. The number of male voters in the district is 1.05m and that of female voters 0.761m.

In Sheikhupura, the number of male and female voters is 1.05m and 0.796m, respectively, and the gap between them is 0.256m. This district also has shown an improvement in terms of reducing the gender gap as the difference stood at 0.271m in 2018.

Likewise, the gap of 318,050 between male and female voters in Sialkot district in 2018 has been reduced to 252,990. The number of men and women voters in the district is 1.39m and 1.14m, respectively.

In Muzaffargarh, the gap has increased from 0.229m in 2018 to 0.243m. The number of registered male and female voters in the district is 1.24m and 1.05m, respectively.

In Bahawalnagar district, the gap has widened from 0.208m in 2018 to 0.23m now. The district has 0.965m male and 0.735m female voters.

The gap has also increased in Bahawalpur district, from 0.207m in 2018 to 0.218m now.

Multan accounts for a gap of 0.221m, up from 0.218m in 2018. The district has a total of 2.79m voters, 1.5m of them men and 1.28m women.

In Vehari, there was a gap of 0.204m in 2018 which has increased to 0.214m now. The district has a total of 1.75m voters, 0.985m of them men and 0.771m women.

The gender gap in Okara has also slightly increased, from 0.208m in 2018 to 0.212m now. The district has 1.89m voters, including 1.05m male and 0.841m female voters.

In Sargodha, the gap has declined from 0.245m to 0.208m. As many as 1.35m men and 1.14m women are enrolled as voters in the district.

Khanewal is also on the list of districts with a gap of over 200,000 between male and female voters. The district had a gap of 0.197m in 2018 which stands at 0.205m now.

Mardan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had a gap of 0.199m in 2018 and interestingly the difference remains unchanged.

In only 24 districts across the country the proportion of women voters is more than 45 per cent, a thorough analysis of the district-wise data of voters has shown.

Chakwal has the distinction to having the highest proportion of women voters, with 49pc.

Four of the districts have 48pc female voters, which are the federal capital, Rawalpindi, Attock and Jhelum.

The four districts with 47pc women on the voter lists are Khushab (Punjab), Haripur (KP), and Sohbatpur and Washuk (Balochistan). None of the districts in Sindh has over 46pc women voters.

The 15 districts where the proportion of female voters comes to 46pc are Mianwali, Multan, Gujrat, Sargodha, Bhakkar (Punjab), Karachi (Central), Karachi (East), Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Unser Kot, Tando Allahyar, Matiari (Sindh), Jaffarabad, Kharan (Balochistan) and Abbottabad (KP).

Killa Abdullah district in Balochistan has the lowest proportion of female voters, with 36pc. The district has 198,419 male and 105,747 female voters.

North Waziristan (KP) and Kohlu (Balochistan) have only 38pc women voters as compared to 62pc men.

In South Waziristan and Mohmand only 39pc of the voters are women.

Interestingly, Malir (Sindh) happens to be the only district where the total number of voters has dropped instead of increasing since 2018. At the time of general elections, the total number of registered voters there stood at 751,526 which has declined to 743,225, a decrease of 8,301.

While the number of female voters in the district has gone up, from 312,360 in 2018 to 314,925, the number of male voters has shrunk from 439,166 to 428,300 now.

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2020