AS a voter I feel reassured to learn from newspapers that the Election Commission of Pakistan has in place systematic arrangements with Nadra to verify thumb impressions of the voters who were issued ballot papers.

I appeal to the ECP to order such verification for all high-risk constituencies of Pakistan on a test-sample basis, specially for sensitive polling stations.

The procedure will test the hypothesis that ballot papers were issued to genuine voters.

The existing knowledge level in statistics and the available technology will enable the ECP to test that the ballot paper were issued to genuine voters with a fair degree of confidence in every constituency.

Of course, the results of such study should be made public.

This exercise, though expensive and time-consuming, will help to ensure the sanctity of votes. Its results will first confirm the fact, as stated by most, that the 2013 elections were largely fair, as also bring to light those where the election results were disputed or rejected as being manipulated. On this basis, the benefit exceeds its costs.

Moreover, undertaking the post-electoral thumb verification exercise will help the ECP to develop such expertise as may be put to use during by-election as a standard operating procedure.

The good work of the ECP did not finish on May 11. By-elections will follow when candidates having won more than one NA seat decide to retain one and vacate others, and for those where elections were postponed due to the death of contesting candidates.

ALTAF NOOR ALI Karachi

Updated May 21, 2013 05:09am

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Comments (5) (Closed)


p pat
May 21, 2013 03:46pm
Well, not so fast. Statistics can also be manipulated and cheated. And as Samuel Clemens said - there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. Meaning, statistics can be used to prove any point theat you want proven.
Khalid
May 21, 2013 02:27pm
On the part of the ballot paper that is deposited in the ballot box, is there a unique ID number to match it with the original voter's ID card and thumb impression, or is that part of the ballot paper completely anonymous. If there is no way to track the fake or genuine ballot paper to a registered voter, how can the genuine votes be confirmed and counted?
Khalid
May 21, 2013 02:21pm
Which 25 seats has PTI identified for recounting? Out of those 25, which 4 seats are the ones with high priority?
Nauman
May 21, 2013 02:25pm
Its a good idea but what is the credibility of NADRA, since it is run by Army, even though you can say NADRA can verify the thumb print but you are forgetting the fact, NADRA is the one who issued all those fake NIC card of foreigners and dead with changed photo.
Hasan
May 21, 2013 12:46pm
Brilliant Idea. By simple statistical tools, random checking of only 5~10% thumb impressions will be good enough to determine the fairness of ballot paper issuance to within a few percentage points of accuracy. No rocket science is involved.