Election 2024 in numbers: Making sense of Pakistan's biggest-ever polls
With over 128m voters, nearly 18,000 candidates, 260m ballot papers and Rs48 billion budget, this year’s elections are the largest in country’s history
Updated Tuesday Feb 06 2024
Pakistan Election 2024 is going to be much larger in scale in all aspects compared to the last one whether it’s a record Rs48 billion budget allocation for this huge exercise, a high number of voters which is more than 50% of the total population, the unprecedented ratio of independent candidates or the tonnes of paper used to print 260 million papers.
Not only this, the February 8 polls, will be the most expensive ones in the country’s history and 26 times more than the 2008 elections. In the previous elections, 11,700 candidates participated which has now increased to nearly 18,000 — a jump of 53.8%.
This time a high number of independent candidates are taking part because the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was stripped of its iconic “bat” electoral symbol and its ticket holders were then bound to contest as independents.
Consequently, there are 11,785 independent candidates in the field as compared to 6,037 who participated in 2018, marking a 95% increase.
According to the latest report on the electoral rolls for the 2024 elections, Pakistan has the fifth-highest number of registered voters globally trailing India, Indonesia, the US and Brazil after a substantial increase of 22.5 million voters, including 12.5 million women, since 2018.
This unprecedented surge brings the total number of registered voters to 128,585,760 in 2024, marking a significant rise from 105,955,409 in 2018 and 86,189,828 in 2013.
Let’s have a look at the numbers
A total of 90,675 polling stations with 276,402 polling booths will be set up across Pakistan under the polling scheme for a total of 128 million voters. In Punjab, 50,944 polling stations will be established for the general elections, followed by 19,006 in Sindh,15,697 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and 5,028 in Balochistan.
The total number of registered voters in Punjab stands at 73.20m while Sindh has 26.99m people enrolled as voters.
As per the ECP, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has a total of 21.83m voters, Balochistan 5.37m, and Islamabad over one million.
Gender gap narrowing
The gender gap has decreased since the adoption of Section 47 of the Elections Act in 2017, which calls for special measures for women’s registration in constituencies with a gender gap exceeding 10%.
It has reduced substantially from 11.8% in 2018 to 7.7% in 2024. Since 2018, women’s registration has surpassed men’s registration, with 2.5 million more women being registered than men.
Out of the 22.5 million new voters added, 12.5 million are women and 10 million are men.
Youth — a decisive factor
Young voters, who are now 44.22% of the total voters, will play a crucial role in this election and this is the reason that the political parties are making all-out efforts to woo them.
A total of 17,816 candidates are in the fray for over 800 national and provincial assembly seats. This time almost double the number of party-affiliated candidates are vying for the legislatures.
859 seats will be up for grabs on February 8 where nearly 18,000 candidates are vying to become parliamentarians.
There are 266 general seats in the National Assembly, 297 in the Punjab Assembly, 130 in Sindh, 115 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 51 in Balochistan.
Law and order
Amid the worsening law and order situation in the country especially Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the government has approved the deployment of 700,000 security personnel across the country to ensure peace on polling day.
Conducting elections is a magnanimous exercise for which over a million staff members are being engaged. They are appointed by the election commission, either from its pool or from the government or judiciary.
As per the Election Commission, a workforce of over 1.4 million is engaged for the 2024 polls.
The government has allocated a hefty sum of Rs48 billion for the conduct of the 2024 elections which is more than double the amount set aside for the 2018 polls.
It is important to note that this spending is other than the budget the provincial governments spend on security and other relevant arrangements.
The Election Commission has printed 260 million ballot papers for all the 859 constituencies — an increase of 40 million as compared to previous polls.
220 million ballot papers were printed in the 2018 general election and, for this purpose, 800 tons of special security paper was used for their printing.
However, 260 million ballot papers had been printed for the 2024 general election and 2,170 tons of paper had been used for the purpose.
With additional input from Husba Thanvi and Zahra Ali Asghar