ISLAMABAD: The vote bank of religious minorities has widened to reach close to three million, with 13 districts in Sindh and two in Punjab having significant presence of minorities placing them in a position to alter the electoral scene in many constituencies.

According to a document of the Election Commission of Pakistan available with Dawn, the number of minority vote stands at 2.99 million — up from 2.77m which was the case before the 2013 general elections.

Hindu voters have a dominating majority among all the minority communities with their number (1.49m) constituting half of the total non-Muslim voters in the country. They are mostly concentrated in Sindh where their number comes to over 1.39m. A total of 73,152 Hindu voters live in Punjab, 22,766 in Balochistan, 4,022 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 586 in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and 188 in the Islamabad Capital Territory.

With over 1.49m voters Hindus top the list

Christians form the second largest non-Muslim voters, totalling 1.32m with over 1m settled in Punjab followed by 209,083 in Sindh, 29,173 in Islamabad, 26,814 in KP, 16,279 in Balochistan and 1,345 in Fata.

The total number of Ahmadi voters in Pakistan is 119,749 of which 101,156 are dwelling in Punjab, 14,855 in Sindh, 2,134 in Islamabad, 1,140 in KP, 451 in Balochistan and 13 in Fata.

Of the total 6,193 Sikh voters, 2,597 live in KP, 1,477 in Sindh, 1,157 in Punjab, 730 in Fata, 225 in Balochistan and seven in Islamabad.

Of the total 3,743 Parsi voters, 2,487 are from Sindh, 723 belong to KP, 254 to Punjab, 250 to Balochistan, 16 to Fata and 13 to Islamabad.

There are 1,643 Buddhist voters and most live in Sindh and Punjab.

Among other religious communities, around 900 are Jews.

According to official statistics obtained before the 2013 elections, there were 2.77m non-Muslim voters in the country. The data showed that Umerkot and Tharparkar districts in Sindh had as high as 49 per cent and 46pc non-Muslim voters, respectively. In Umerkot, there were a total of 386,924 voters of which 189,501 belonged to the religious minorities. In Tharparkar, out of a total of 473,189 voters, 219,342 were non-Muslim.

In Mirpurkhas, the total number of voters was 590,035 and among them 192,357 (33pc) were non-Muslim. In Tando Allahyar, 74,954 non-Muslims constitute 26pc of the total 288,460 voters.

In Tando Mohammad Khan, 39,847 non-Muslims accounted for 17pc of total 231,522 voters. In Matiari, 81,589 non-Muslims constituted 13pc of total 302,265 voters. In Karachi (south), total number of voters was 1,070,321 and among them 81,589 (8pc) were non-Muslim. In Ghotki and Hyderabad, 41,031 and 62,243 non-Muslims accounted for 7pc of the total 571,636 and 928,236 voters, respectively.

In Chiniot and Lahore districts of Punjab, 35,335 and 247,827 non-Muslims constituted 6pc of the total 604,991 and 4,424,314 voters, respectively. In Jamshoro and Kashmore districts of Sindh, 18,912 and 17,495 non-Muslims were 5pc of the total 373,097 and 355,904 voters, respectively.

Among 2.77m non-Muslim voters registered before the 2013 polls, 1.40m were Hindus, 1.23m Christians, 115,966 Ahmadis, 5,934 Sikhs, 3,650 Parsis, 1,452 Buddhists and 809 Jews. Jews and Parsis were two minorities in which the number of women voters was higher than that of men. There were 1,915 Parsi female voters against 1,735 male voters. Likewise, the number of Jewish women voters was 427 against 382 men in the community.

Number of minorities’ voters

Hindu 1,498,275

Christian 1,325,433

Ahmadi 119,749

Sikh 6,193

Parsi 3,743

Buddhist 1,643

Other communities 42,805

Total 2,997,841

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2017