Social media warms up to Pakistan polls

By ZRG | Updated: May 04, 2013, 12:38 PM IST

Siddharth Tak/ Zee Research Group

Pakistani cricketer turned politician Imran Khan has competition from his own party when it comes to popularity ratings on social media. The two together have suddenly brought alive the social media ahead of the general elections in Pakistan, while rest of the politicians are yet to fully warm up to the new media.

The statistics show that Imran Khan is the most popular leader on social media site Facebook with 8,03,488 likes for his page. Following Imran Khan is his party page ‘Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’ with 6,32,381 likes. Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) led by Nawaz Sharif has 1,77,104 likes while Jamat-e-Islami has 1,39,885. Pakistan People’s Party page has 44,248 likes on FB. These numbers are enumerated as of May 03, 2013.

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have only recently become popular among Pakistani politicians. In fact, most of the political parties are using them for the upcoming elections in Pakistan. Pakistan is due to go to polls on May 11, 2013 and political parties are turning to the social media sites to promote their agenda and attract country`s 80 million registered electors.

There are about eight million Facebook users in the Pakistan, of which a great majority are under the age of 36. Among 8.6 million users of Facebook in Pakistan, 70 per cent are male while 30 per cent are female. Also, around two million Pakistanis use the micro-blogging site Twitter and just over a million are LinkedIn users. The number of social media users in Pakistan is increasing by an average of seven percent a year.

Among the top five Pakistan political leaders on Twitter, Imran Khan has the highest (5,64,173) number of followers. Marvi Memon, leader of Pakistan Muslim League, follows with 1,06,843 Twitter followers, while Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the daughter of Nawaz Sharif, has 69,309 followers. Sherry Rehman, Pakistan`s ambassador to the US, has 66,907 followers and the general secretary of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Mushahid Hussain Syed enjoys 49,135 followers. These stats are as of May 03, 2013.

According to a World Bank 2012 report, Pakistan had about 2.91 crore Internet users as of 2010.