MUZAFFARABAD: The manual compilation of electoral rolls for the upcoming elections to the legislative assembly of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) has been rejected by the local PTI chapter which has urged for the preparation of computerised lists drafted in collaboration with the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).
AJK Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice Ghulam Mustafa Mughal announced on Saturday that revenue department personnel and schoolteachers would carry out enrolment of voters between March 5 and March 20 on the basis of CNIC or a B-form.
Rejecting this, PTI president Barrister Sultan Mahmood said: “We will not accept lists prepared by patwaris and politically influenced school teachers. The task must be assigned to Nadra to ensure fair elections.” He added: “If the government lacks funds for involving Nadra, PTI is ready to pay for it.”
Party’s regional president alleges ruling, opposition parties avoiding computerised rolls because they want to rig polls
“If electoral rolls are not prepared via Nadra, we can take any extreme step”, he warned. Mr Mahmood, who is also a former AJK prime minister, alleged that PML-N and the ruling PPP where supporting manual lists because “computerised rolls don’t fit in with their plans”. “Both parties want to rig the elections but we will not let them take away voter rights”, he said.
The PTI leader asked that if digital voting machines could be used during elections in Indian held Kashmir, why could computerised rolls not be prepared for polls in AJK. He also gave the example of Gilgit-Baltistan where computerised rolls were used and urged the ruling and opposition party to not try to avoid computerised lists so that the election results have some credibility.
Mr Mahmood, who led PPP’s 2011 election campaign, alleged that many bogus votes were entered in the rolls in the previous polls. “The election commission has not explained how such bogus votes will be excluded from the rolls, but Nadra can do so because it has the required data”, he said.
PTI would not object if elections were delayed for a month or two for compiling computerised electoral rolls, he said. “There is no point in holding elections with questionable credibility”, he added.
Meanwhile, a source in the AJK Election Commission told Dawn on Monday that Nadra had already been engaged for the preparation of CNICs for eligible voters.
“A mobile team from Nadra has been working in the field from August 3 of last year in accordance with six schedules of a month each”, he said. AJK CEC will be meeting with Nadra’s chairman on Tuesday to ask for more teams so the registration process can be expedited, he added. According to recent reforms in electoral laws, possessing a CNIC or B-form is required before someone can be allowed to vote.
Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2016