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Women voters are particularly affected. The latest electoral rolls count 47.77 million men, compared with 36.59 million women — a significant discrepancy given that Pakistan’s male-to-female ratio is 1.06. Although it is skewed in men’s favor, the ratio alone does not account for the gender difference in the electoral rolls (especially because there are even fewer girls than boys under voting age: the male-to-female ratio is 1.07 for Pakistanis between the ages of 15 and 64). As it is, almost 10 million Pakistani women eligible to vote remain unaccounted for.

There are various reasons why more women than men are missing from the electoral rolls. Women are less likely than men to have registered for a computerized ID. In some parts of the country, men discourage female family members from voting in order to limit their participation in public life. Many internally displaced people, particularly those fleeing military operations against militants in the country’s northwestern and tribal regions, have not been able to verify their voter-registration details.

Read more at The International Herald Tribune, published 31 August 2012.

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