ISLAMABAD: The Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has congratulated over 97 million currently registered voters of Pakistan and many more that are going to be added in the due course  on the  eve of  2nd National Voters Day.  

In a statement issued here Thursday on the eve of National Voters Day, he said that Commemoration of National Voters Day not just highlights the significance and power of vote but also serves as a reminder for creating awareness among the people of country to ensure their maximum participation in the electoral processes.  “This day holds historic significance, as it marked the first time adult franchise in 1970 based on the principle of one man one vote” he added.

The Speaker Said that the Constitution of  Islamic Republic of Pakistan has acknowledged vote as a right, by explicitly quoting in the preamble that the State shall exercise its powers through the chosen representatives; hence the National Assembly of Pakistan is repository of the Nation’s democratic will.  

He said that over 97 million registered voters are going to define their fate in the General Elections of 2018.  “On this day and beyond, all the relevant stakeholders must jointly strive for making citizens aware of their constitutional right and the need to exercise the same discreetly” he said.

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq remarked that there is a need to strive towards a democracy that reflects inclusion, accountability and truly representative structures.  He said thatdemocracy cannot be truly representative if all demographic groups especially women, youth and minorities are not equally made part of the processes.   He further said that over 44% of the total registered voters are under the age of 35, the youth therefore is going to have a huge impact in the upcoming elections. In addition, huge gender gap in the registered voters also needs to be accounted for as currently women comprise of just 44% of the total registered voters.  

“While almost 12% gender gap between men and women registered voters constitutes a huge number of missing women voters. In the true spirit of democracy, it is essential that these women are taken along in the electoral process to make it more inclusive” the Speaker said.

The Speaker said that with the first ever transition of power from one democratically elected government to another in 2013; Pakistan paved its way towards the path of sustainable parliamentary democracy.   He said that as we move closer to the General Elections of 2018, we must realize that timely, free and fair elections are without doubt one of the most significant drivers for strengthening democracy and political processes in the country.

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq highlighted that Parliament of Pakistan prides itself for taking the lead in this process as the comprehensive legislation on electoral reforms has unanimously been passed after all parties’ rigorous consultations. 

“The law also authorizes ECP to declare results of a specific election null and void if the turnout of women voters in the particular constituency is less than 10 per cent” he remarked.

He said that  before commencing  the General Elections of 2018, the Election Commission of Pakistan needs to launch a number of civic and voters’ education programs including seminars, walks and mass awareness campaign at federal, provincial, district and union council levels to create awareness among the masses from voter registration to casting of vote.