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Objectionable votes will be dispatched to Nadra for verification through thumbprints. – File photo
Objectionable votes will be dispatched to Nadra for verification through thumbprints. – File photo

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has vowed to tackle fake votes with the help of technology in the upcoming general elections.

ECP’s Additional Secretary Muhammad Afzal Khan has said that in a bid to hold “free and fair elections,” the body will employ “thumbprint-tracing technology” and ensure irregularities are avoided in the polling process.

“Objectionable votes will be dispatched to Nadra (National Database and Registration Authority) for verification through thumbprints. The thumbprints on ballot papers will be matched with those on the Nadra database,” Khan said.

A vote which is termed fake after cross-checking with Nadra would be termed null and void, according to Khan, who added that only those voters who are in possession of genuine computerised national identity cards (CNICs) would be allowed to cast their votes.

ECP has also promised to ensure that no ghost polling stations are reported during the next polls.

Underlining the body’s intolerance for irregularities, Khan said: “ECP will disqualify those candidates who are found to be part of a rigged poll and they will also be declared ineligible for the next elections.”

Khan said that all security forces, including the army, rangers and police will be at the ECP’s disposal for three days (a day before and after) during the elections.

“The ECP will get details of polling-station staff and security personnel deployed there, including their names, thumbprints, designations, addresses and others,” the additional secretary said, adding that all security personnel deployed at polling stations would be bound to obey orders of presiding officers who would be given powers of first-class magistrate during three days of elections.

“If security personnel and other government staff deployed at polling staff are found to be involved in malpractice or disobeying orders of the presiding officer, he or she would be punished, which could lead to dismissal from service and imprisonment.”

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Comments (10) Closed

chill Dec 02, 2012 05:50am
this is really encouraging. I hope the ECP would show its boldness, resolve and impartiality in Karachi, where polling is seen as controversial. Similarly, in KP, ECP should take extra security measures, plus concrete steps to ensure women cast their votes freely.
sana Dec 02, 2012 12:13pm
"only" for objectionable votes, NOT ALL!?
M. Omar Dec 03, 2012 04:45am
Since the thumb impression can be chekced with NADRA, instal a thumb reader at polling station entrance. Only those voters are allowed in whose thumbs are matched with those on the voting list in that polling station.
Mustafa Dec 02, 2012 11:46pm
How will a vote be scrutinized to be an objectionable one? Let's see to which extent these policies are implemented.
N K Ali Dec 03, 2012 04:38am
These are encouraging and pro-active procedures but also remember that nothing is 'foolproof.' Why? Because, a 'fool is unpredictable.' AND remember that all our politicians are fools and will conjure up some trick to cast bogus votes. Salams
youthsvoice Dec 01, 2012 10:10pm
Great deal ECP. I would suggest you to go step ahead and install thumb verification machines on polling stations. Thumbs Up!!!
Ahmed Dec 01, 2012 08:52pm
Bravo! Lets keep this spirit up and ensure we have free and fair elections!!
Ehsan Dec 02, 2012 06:03pm
Who will decide a vote is objectionable or not?
Shakil Dec 01, 2012 11:41pm
very good step, we can only beat these ghost voters by induction of technology. It may be too late for the next elections for all electronic voting system, but it can be doable task to have a NADRA linked finger print readers at polling stations that can verify in real time validity of the voter thumb print and CNIC data. If not each polling stations then later verification by said approach can atleast nullify such votes!
Michael Malcolm Dec 01, 2012 07:20pm
Great Start by ECP. Keep it up and do not let any authority deter your decisions on having fair and frre election.