Pakistan elections: Non-Muslim voters up by 30%, Hindus biggest minority
The number of voters belonging to Pakistan’s religious minorities has risen to 3.63 million from the 2.77 million registered in electoral rolls for the last general election in 2013, an increase of 30% in five years.
Hindu voters continued to maintain their majority among the minorities but they no longer constitute more than half the total non-Muslim voters as was the case in 2013, the Dawn newspaper cited an official document as saying.
The number of Hindu voters before the 2013 polls was 1.40 million while the total number of voters from minority communities was 2.77 million. Hindu voters were more than the collective number of those from all other minorities.
The number of Hindu voters now stands at 1.77 million, mostly concentrated in southern Sindh province, where they form more than 40% of the registered voters in two districts.
Christians form the second largest group among non-Muslim voters, totalling 1.64 million, including more than 1 million settled in Punjab, followed by more than 200,000 in Sindh. Their number has grown at a relatively high pace as compared to Hindu voters, as it was 1.23 million before the 2013 polls.
The total number of Ahmadi voters is 167,505, with most of them in Punjab, followed by Sindh and Islamabad. Their number in 2013 stood at 115,966.
Of the total 8,852 Sikh voters, most are settled in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, followed by Sindh and Punjab. Their presence in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas is more than their combined strength in Balochistan and Islamabad. Sikh voters numbered 5,934 in 2013.
Interestingly, the number of Parsi voters has grown from 3,650 in 2013 to 4,235. A majority is settled in Sindh, followed by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The number of Buddhist voters increased from 1,452 in 2013 to 1,884. Most of them live in Sindh and Punjab. There are a total of 31,543 voters from the Bahai community on the electoral rolls.
The document obtained by the newspaper made no mention of Jewish voters in Pakistan, though there were 809 Jewish voters in 2013, including 427 women and 382 men.
While district-wise data of non-Muslim voters is yet to be prepared, according to official statistics related to the 2013 election, Umerkot and Tharparkar districts in Sindh had as high a percentage as 49% and 46% of the total voters, respectively.
In Umerkot, there were a total of 386,924 voters, of whom 189,501 belonged to religious minorities. In Tharparkar, out of a total of 473,189 voters, 219,342 were non-Muslim.