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Election Commission of Pakistan.— File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Top officials of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the law ministry held a meeting on Tuesday to review e-voting facility for overseas Pakistanis for May 11 polls for which the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has developed a software.

A source told Dawn that those attending the meeting had already reached the conclusion that overseas Pakistanis should not be allowed to cast their vote this year due to what they called ‘incomplete’ arrangements and some legal and diplomatic constraints. The meeting was also attended by Attorney General Irfan Qadir.

“It has been decided that another round of talks on the e-voting will be held on Wednesday. It will also be attended by representatives of Finance Ministry, Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis, Foreign Office, Ministry of Information Technology and Nadra,” a senior official of the law ministry said.

It has been learnt that caretaker government and the ECP are on the same page on the issue as they don’t want the overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in the May 11 polls due to ‘incomplete’ arrangements.

But, the Supreme Court has directed the government and the ECP to ensure provision of e-voting facility to overseas Pakistanis.

The government and the ECP have now agreed that they will try to convince the Supreme Court at the April 11 hearing of the case that it would not be a sagacious decision to allow Pakistanis living abroad to cast their votes.

According to official data reported by media, more than 4.3 million Pakistanis living in 15 countries and possessing National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) have been registered in the electoral rolls.

The data shows that the ECP had registered 1.7m Pakistanis living in Saudi Arabia, 1.3m in UAE, 367,988 in the UK; 277,131 in Oman; 131,589 in the US, 93,345 in Kuwait, 90,148 in Canada, 80,166 in Bahrain, 71,874 in Qatar, 56,495 in Greece; 55,851 in Italy, 55,478 in Malaysia, 39,618 in Spain, 23,585 in France and 15,728 in Australia.

Of a total of 4,339,728 overseas Pakistanis, 3,513,248 have been registered in the Middle East where even local people are not allowed to gather in large number to hold any sort of rally or procession let alone expatriates of any country.

Informed sources in the ECP said that leaving Arab countries aside for the moment, if 15 per cent of voters registered in United States come out to vote on the polling day, it would be a huge problem for the ECP to handle over 65,000 voters at limited polling stations, which can only be set up in embassies and consulates.

However, top Nadra officials claim that the e-voting software prepared by the organisation was fool-proof and feasible and could facilitate overseas Pakistanis to cast their vote first time in the country’s history.

Nadra chairman Tariq Malik on Tuesday briefed caretaker Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Barrister Feroz Jamal Shah Kakakhel at a meeting at the Nadra Headquarters that the system was secure and technically ready to be installed subject to approval by the ECP.

Nadra’s System of E-Voting According to the system prepared by Nadra, overseas voters will be informed through online applications available at Pakistani missions’ aboard and holders of the National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) or Machine Readable Passport (MRP) registered with ECP could cast their votes.

On the polling day, the voter will have to physically come to the polling station set up abroad along with his/her NICOP and MRP.

On the computer screen, the voter will be shown a list of candidates against his/her native constituency along with the candidate’s name and election symbol.

The voter will select the candidate of his/her choice by clicking through the mouse on the candidate and after the click a confirmation will be shown to voter that the vote is being cast against selection made by the voter.

On confirmation, the vote will be cast in the ECP database without retaining any identity record of the voter.

This will be carried out through reliable and secure intranet connectivity to ECP database with all Pakistani foreign missions and consulates where this facility will be provided.


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Comments (17) (Closed)


avid_supporter
Apr 10, 2013 03:10am
Local bodies are scared that people will over whelmingly vote for PTI and Imran Khan. Inshallah PTI will win the elections.
fraz
Apr 10, 2013 05:15am
If they only use their energies to make it possible for oversease Pakistani's to vote rather then preparing stuff to convince supreme court to not allow them to vote. This is burglary, attack on my right to vote. This is the beginning of another engineered election.
Dr.Muhammad Arif Nadeem
Apr 10, 2013 05:43am
When a system has been deveolped,why hinderance,let give chance to peoples and see.
M. Alvi
Apr 10, 2013 06:18am
Not enough time to make arrangements for voting of overseas Pakistanis is no valid excuse. They always knew the date of this election and all previous elections. Nothing new or unexpected. Pakistan and Pakistanis cannot see beyond the tip of their nose.
Umer
Apr 10, 2013 07:10am
Nice try.. everybody knows why overseas pakis are left out, their vote is for PTI.
MAS
Apr 10, 2013 07:11am
There are many Pakistani schools as well to be considered as polling stations
Abbas
Apr 10, 2013 07:50am
We should protest around the world to Vote in Election 2013 otherwise they will not let us count our vote
Faizaan
Apr 10, 2013 07:52am
"Of a total of 4,339,728 overseas Pakistanis, 3,513,248 have been registered in the Middle East where even local people are not allowed to gather in large number to hold any sort of rally or procession let alone expatriates of any country." How come our Egyptians expatriate colleagues casted their votes during recent presidential elections in overseas polling stations set up in embassies in the respective countries in Middle East. It is quite clear that we don't want Overseas People to caste their vote and for that are willing to spread false information as we are doing in other sectors of life/government.
Abul Hassan Khan KSA
Apr 10, 2013 07:55am
If NADRA can ensure and undertake the responsibility that all malpractices can be stopped, then evoting may be executed
Malik
Apr 10, 2013 08:17am
I would say if system is fool proof and vote would be accepted only against NADRA cards then people can do this online on websites by sitting at comfort of there home also.
Mohammad Bashir Janjua
Apr 10, 2013 08:27am
There must be a way to cast vote through computer sitting at home. The voters can get registered online for e-voting and creat their own password to access the website. We must move on with the technology.
haris
Apr 10, 2013 09:34am
So far NADRA software can only be run over Intranet (Local network) which could be made secured and monitoring of any malpractice can easily be identified and fixed. On the other hand, it is rather difficult to make secure e-voting over Internet (wide are network). There are many loopholes which the hackers could easily exploit. I myself believe e-voting to be remained over Intranet as it is securer. At least this time!
haris
Apr 10, 2013 09:39am
E-Voting over Wide area network (Internet) is not as easy as you think. There are many loopholes that can easily be exploited by the hackers. I myself is a software engineer and I believe many people who belong to this field of IT understands it well.
Arif
Apr 10, 2013 10:19am
There should be 'E-voting' for living abroad.
Shehzad
Apr 10, 2013 10:42am
ECP and Govt are not allowing e-voting because they know that 90% of overseas voter support IK
Tariq
Apr 10, 2013 11:19am
As the the majority of the registered expats NICOP card holders are located in the Middle East "where it is forbidden even for the locals to gather in numbers, let alone expats" it would be prudent for NADRA to develop an e-polling website with the supporting software that will enable all card holders to log on. With the appropriate "security checks" in place this is not a difficult task to accomplish even for an average software engineer in matter of days! All it requires is the will to that end!
Nonhlanhla Dlamini
Apr 10, 2013 07:47pm
At least, ecp should give the software a try. WHAT are they afraid of. That all overseas Pakistani will vote for pti i