Home Global Village Can Imran Khan mobilize young voters on July 25th?

Can Imran Khan mobilize young voters on July 25th?


News Analysis |

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan in his message on Twitter has urged the people of Pakistan who don’t plan on voting in the upcoming elections to stand for something and vote.

“A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything” – Malcolm X. This is for all those Pakistanis who are intending not to vote in the coming historical elections on the 25 of July,” he said in a tweet.

In response to Khan’s tweet which was aimed to mobilize voters across Pakistan, PML-N leader, Maryam Nawaz tweeted, “What do you stand for? Khalayi Makhlooq? Conspiracies? Umpire ki ungli? Sadiq Sanjrani? Dictations? Sponsored Dharnas? Sponsored politics?”

If PTI fails to mobilize the young voters on July 25, a low turnout will reduce PTI’s chances in the upcoming elections. But, one must not forget that PTI is also banking on the electable in these elections, who prefer low turnouts.

Maryam’s tweet echoes the fear among the PML-N of high turnout, which potentially can jeopardize PML-N’s desire to retain power. Ever since the countdown to elections have started, Khan has been vocal about the importance of voting. He has called upon the people of Pakistan to come out in numbers, to change the fate of this country.

Many pundits and political analysts often credit Imran’s PTI for creating awareness amongst the public. In 2013 elections, when PTI chief encouraged the masses to come out and vote for Pakistan, he was successful in mobilizing middle class-urban youth, in particular.

Read more: Industrialists complain of PTI indifference in Karachi

In 2013 general elections, PTI emerged as the second biggest party in terms of votes. According to Election Commission of Pakistan, after 1980’s in 2013, Pakistan witnessed the highest overall turnout of 55.02%.

ECP has recorded voter turnout of 41.08% and 44.23% in 2002 and 2008, respectively. On the other hand, Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) reported that in 2013, voter turnout in Pakistan was 53% and it increased by the 12% as compared to an average of 41% in the last couple of decades and so.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan in his message on Twitter has urged the people of Pakistan who don’t plan on voting in the upcoming elections to stand for something and vote.

 

PTI has more following among the youth of the country, whose participation can break the status quo on 25th July. In 2018, among the 208 million population, 105.96 million Pakistani are eligible to vote in the upcoming elections. The number of registered voters has increased by 23% from 2013.

Read more: Khan to unite politically fragmented Karachi behind banner of change

Moreover, 20% of the voters are between the age of 18 and 25, and 15 % voters are between the ages of 26 and 30, which may favor PTI. But, political analysts have shown concerns over the turnout of the young voters. Imran has acknowledged the fact and in his address to the voters, he hopes that there participation in this democratic exercise may change the landscape of Pakistan’s politics.

In Pakistan’s politics, it is observed that low turnout usually strengthens the grip of electable [traditional politicians/turncoats].

If PTI fails to mobilize the young voters on July 25, a low turnout will reduce PTI’s chances in the upcoming elections. But, one must not forget that PTI is also banking on the electable in these elections, who prefer low turnouts. Nevertheless, an electable contesting on PTI’s ticket may be able to generate more votes against the odds.