Pakistan’s political landscape is undergoing a significant transformation as the country prepares for critical elections. The young, energetic youth, a demographic powerhouse, holds significant potential to shape the country’s political future, making their thoughts, worries, and aspirations crucial.

Youth Voter Turnout 2018:

According to empirical Analysis of Elections in Pakistan done by Gallup Pakistan, average Youth voter turnout estimates are a mere 31.5% compared to 40% for women voter turnout and 53% for average national voter turnout during the last two elections in 2013 and 2018.

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Youth Driven Digital Democracy:

To help the voices of the future, we also need to explore the influence of social media on political opinions and decisions driven by the youth. In the diverse society we are living in, social media is the strongest tool at the disposal of Pakistani political parties which can have a profound effect on youth’s minds and political parties and vice versa. Social media platforms enable young people to participate in conversations, express their opinions, and contribute to an active online political dialogue. Hashtags and trending topics frequently serve as vehicles for political speech, emphasizing certain concerns and establishing a virtual arena for political discourse.

Critical issues for upcoming 2024 election:

The 2024 elections survey by The Current Forum in Pakistan raised important concerns: 51.8% prioritized economic stability, 32.6% emphasized governance and accountability, 8.5%% focused on social services such as education and healthcare, 3.5% were conscious of climate change, and 3.5% were concerned about national security. Instagram polls echoed similar sentiments: 45% prioritized governance and accountability, 42% emphasized economic stability, 11% supported education and healthcare, and 2% were concerned about climate change. These findings highlight the different electorate objectives, emphasizing the necessity for policymakers to develop comprehensive policies that meet several issues

Request for political candidates for immediate impact on universities and student bodies:

The Current Forum’s 2024 elections survey found a wide range of student demands: 40.4% emphasized active engagement in decision-making for inclusive governance, 32.6% requested immediate financial assistance, and 24.8% increased funding for education. Notably, 2.1% prioritized increased campus security. According to Instagram surveys, 43% priorities student assistance, 34% advocate for student involvement in decision-making, 19% demand increased education financing, and 4% emphasize enhanced campus security.

Concerns about the electoral process in Pakistan that need attention and improvement:

Initiatives or strategies that could encourage greater political awareness and participation among the youth in Pakistan:

The study indicates a variety of opinions on improving political engagement among Pakistani young. Notably, 29.8% prefer youth-focused political participation events, while 30.5% support greater young representation. 18.4% favor expanding civic education programs, while 21.3% support easily available information platforms.

According to Instagram polls, 25% prefer greater civic education, while 24% support youth-focused engagement activities. A majority (35%) advocate for expanded youth representation, while 16% support accessible information platforms.

Immediate Priorities for Universities and Students: Requests to Political Candidates in Pakistan’s 2024 Elections

The survey responses highlight a range of concerns and requests from students in Pakistan for political candidates to address in the 2024 elections. Key issues include the restoration of student unions, regulation of private institution fees, compulsory on-campus jobs, and student policies that positively impact the student body. The lack of governance in certain regions, particularly in Balochistan, is also a concern. Students advocate for changes in grading systems, tackling harassment issues, ensure affordable fees, and creating job opportunities post-graduation. They also advocate for free education, scholarships, and support for those unable to afford fees. The survey participants urged candidates to address the specific needs and concerns voiced by the student community, fostering a more responsive and accountable approach to policymaking.