Out of 180 million populations in Pakistan, 60 percent comprises of youth, therefore the youth can play the most vital role in setting the direction of future in the elections, since the elections are a turning point for the democratic nations. According to 2008 statistics, 36 million are in the age group of 20-24 years and 58 million are below the age of 15. Out of 50 million youth in the age group of 18-29 years, 55 percent is urban youth. Only Lahore and Karachi make 30 million youth.
Young voters were expected to play an important role in the country’s most competitive General Elections on May 11, 2013. With more than 47% of registered voters between the ages of 18 and 35 years, political parties, for the first time, focused their election campaigns to attract these “youth voters”. The major parties targeted youth to be their supporters, while the political issues and campaign messages were heavily spread on the internet and online social media.
In Pakistan, although youth represent 60 percent of the total population, their voice is largely unrepresented in the political system. The youth population is not only a dynamic source of innovation and creativity, but has contributed to and catalyzed important changes in political systems, power-sharing dynamics, and economic opportunities in Pakistan. One leading force for these changes is the Youth Parliament of Pakistan which was created in 2007 to engage youth in dialogue on important issues affecting Pakistan. Within local government, youth are also taking an active role in achieving implementation of work. In the recently held local government polls of Khyber Pakhtunkwa Province of Pakistan, 3,339 seats were devoted for the youth.
In 2013, the PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) and the PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz) focused on the youth and both have developed special schemes, youth policies, and provided 25% tickets to the youth. The PML-N has offered a laptop program and loan schemes for the youth. The PTI has been extremely active in the social networking sector, which is a new front being opened in politics
On August 12, 2015, the Sindh Assembly passed ‘The Sindh Local Government (Third Amendment) Bill 2015’, in which, along with other amendments, a new clause ensuring 5 percent representation of the youth at all levels – union committee or council (UC), town committee, municipal corporation, district council and metropolitan cooperation – had been introduced. However, the student politics are banned from campuses. Some criticism has been expressed that the decision to introduce seats for the youth was evidence of the ruling elite’s double standards.
FAFEN’s survey on an “Intention to Vote” conducted in 2013, which examines citizen’s plans to vote on Election Day, voter registration status, and party affiliations and preferences has shown that only about half of youth respondents aged between 18-35 planned to vote in 2013 General Elections. 17% of the youth respondents weren’t registered voters, even though they obtained Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC).
PDF : Engaging Youth for Electoral Process (PakVoter.org: 2013)
A manual explaining how youth can engage themself in 2013 Elections. It is a step-by-step guidance about all available resources that are useful in engaging in forthcoming elections in Pakistan.
PDF : Apolitical or Depoliticised? Pakistan’s Youth and Politics (Jinnah Institute: 2013)
PDF : Roles of Youth in Election (Youth Minister for IT and Telecom: 2012)
PDF : Social Media and Youth Participatory Politics: A Study of University Students (South Asian Studies: 2013)
PDF : Exploring Political Attitude among Educated Youth: A Study at University of Sargodha (Shahid Iqbal Department of Sociology,University of Sargodha, 2012)
PDF : The Politics and Economics of Pakistan’s Youth: The effect on youth and its development in Pakistan (UNDP: 2014)
PDF : Next Generation Goes to the Ballot Box- British Council (2013)