Pakistan’s Youth Ignite Democratic Revolution at the Ballot Box!


March 19: Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency -PILDAT celebrates a momentous milestone in Pakistan’s democratic journey. Recent data from Gallup Pakistan’s exit poll reveals a notable increase in youth participation in the electoral process. Comparing the data from the 2024 General Election with historical trends, PILDAT highlights remarkable progress in youth voter engagement.

Youth voter turnout has surged to the highest ever 48% in 2024, a substantial rise of 11 percentage points from 37% in 2018, reflecting the effectiveness of strategic initiatives aimed at empowering and amplifying youth voices within the democratic framework.

Another historical development was that the Youth Voter Turnout almost matched the overall voter turnout. In the past, Youth Voter Turnout always lagged behind the Overall Voter Turnout from as low as 5 percentage points in 1993 to as high as 29 percentage points in 2013.

While overall voter turnout in the 2024 elections has experienced a slight decline from the last year’s General Election held in 2018 (52.1%), the increase in estimated youth voter turnout is very good news, made possible by serious efforts made by several institutions and organizations including PILDAT.

Brief Overview of PILDAT’s Work on Improving Youth Voter Turnout in Pakistan:

These significant advancements in voter engagement come also as a result of PILDAT’s longstanding efforts to promote electoral participation among Pakistan’s youth. PILDAT has undertaken numerous efforts over the years to enhance youth participation and engagement in electoral processes. These endeavors include research papers, reports, surveys & others such as Missing Young Voters of Pakistan, Democracy’s Vanguard: Increasing Youth Participation in Pakistan’s Electoral Process, Youth Monitors tasked with monitoring developments in youth-related policies and issues within Pakistan, Voice of Youth Surveys, Grassroot Policy Forums on COVID-19, A Blueprint for Fellowship Programs in Political Parties of Pakistan, a study of youth policies in Pakistan and many others (approximately 21 publications since 2019).

Launch of PILDAT Report on ‘Youth Electoral Participation in Pakistan’ on Wednesday, December 20, 2023, in Islamabad

PILDAT hosted 46 dedicated forums and sessions with youth and other key stakeholders, aimed at fostering discussions to ensure the integrity of general elections in Pakistan and addressing the absence of young voters in Pakistani elections. Additionally, PILDAT organized 15 capacity-building sessions across 15 educational institutions throughout Pakistan, reaching out to about 1977 students in partnership with UNDP and participated by ECP officials to underscore the significance of the youth vote and to make them aware of the electoral process of Pakistan.

Mobilizing Youth for Electoral Participation at the University of Gujrat on November 01, 2023

PILDAT facilitated many direct interactions between youth representatives and elected Members of National Assembly, Senate and all provincial assemblies of Pakistan. During these interactions, youth representatives posed questions on critical topics such as education, gainful employment, harassment, drug abuse, youth access to legislatures and the leadership crisis, fostering meaningful dialogue and engagement.

Under NED, PILDAT celebrated ‘National Voters Day’, hosting a focused dialogue aimed at enhancing youth electoral participation and inspiring young individuals to exercise their right to vote.

Through its flagship project Youth Parliament Pakistan®, PILDAT has arranged tailored consultative sessions with youth, political parties, media, academia, corporate leaders, CSOs and many others, focusing on empowering Pakistan’s future through active youth participation in electoral and legislative processes.

Similarly, PILDAT held various consultative forums and dialogues on the revival of student unions across Pakistan.

Group photo of members of 18th Youth Parliament Pakistan® at the first session held on December 02, 2023, at Islamabad

PILDAT has formed partnerships with various organizations aimed at fortifying youth involvement in democratic activities. Furthermore, we organized quarterly meetings with the youth provincial ministers, youth department secretaries, key youth representatives and the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs for youth inclusive policies, procedures and implementation plans. We also made provincial costed work plans for all provinces across Pakistan, including AJK and GB.

Furthermore, PILDAT launched a digital campaign, “Awami Mukalma,” a youth-centric initiative aimed at providing civic education, reaching approximately 8.85 million people (to date), which also initiated efforts to boost youth voter turnout for the 2024 General Elections.

4 episodes of Digital campaign ‘Awami Mukalma’ by PILDAT – January 12, 2024

We feel humbled and proud that these combined efforts of PILDAT fostered greater youth engagement in the democratic process and increased the youth voter turnout across Pakistan in the General Elections of 2024.

We wish to thank institutions like the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and organizations like The Body Shop, META, UNFPA, FES Pakistan,National Endowment for Democracy (NED), UNDP Pakistan, TikTok, Interloop Limited, Geo/Jang Group, The Bank of Punjab, The University of Lahore and various other partners for their continued support to PILDAT to advance its efforts of proactive engagement of youth in electoral, political and democratic processes in Pakistan.

To learn more about our work on youth, explore our extensive collection of youth-related publications by clicking here. Uncover the breadth of all PLDAT’s initiatives and activities. Our work on Youth Parliament Pakistan® can be found here. Don’t forget to stay connected with us on all our social media to stay abreast of the latest developments.