The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday instructed the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to create a special software for online scrutiny of nomination papers to be filed by candidates taking part in the upcoming general elections.
The orders were issued to Nadra during a meeting presided over by Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Mohammad Raza.
The software, according to the ECP spokesperson, would link the ECP with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the State Bank of Pakistan.
The spokesperson said that Nadra, after completing the family trees of the election candidates and finalising the software, will seek permission from the ECP for its usage, following which returning officers would be able to access it.
The FIA has reportedly been made a part of the candidates' scrutiny procedure for the first time, sources told DawnNewsTV.
During the meeting today, the election commission's DG Information Technology said that during the 2013 polls, 26,000 aspiring legislators had submitted their nomination papers; of them, only 16,000 were accepted.
It is expected that up to 30,000 candidates will file their nomination papers for the 2018 elections, the DG added.
The idea to create a central automated online system for scrutiny of nomination papers and screen out tax evaders, loan defaulters, beneficiaries of written-off loans as well as convicts was floated prior to the 2013 polls as well.
However, the proposed programme, for reasons unknown, had not come to fruition.
ECP stations DROs, ROs across Pakistan
The ECP on Monday stationed District Returning Officers (DROs) and Returning Officers (ROs) for general elections 2018.
According to the ECP, a total of 131 DROs have been deployed, of which 36 are stationed in Punjab, 34 in Balochistan, 27 in Sindh and 25 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; moreover, one DRO and three ROs were stationed in Islamabad.
The DROs and ROs belong to the judicial setup except for Fata and four districts of Balochistan, where the officers were picked from local administrations due to the unavailability of judicial officers.