ECP directs Cabinet Division to investigate RTS' alleged failure

August 02, 2018


MQM supporters carry placards as they chant slogans during a protest against alleged election rigging in Karachi. —AFP
MQM supporters carry placards as they chant slogans during a protest against alleged election rigging in Karachi. —AFP

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday directed the Cabinet Division to form an inquiry committee to investigate the causes of alleged failure of the Result transmission System (RTS) during July 25 general elections.

The ECP said the Cabinet Division should form a committee comprising technical experts from National Telecom and Information Technology Security Board (NTISB) and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

The committee has been asked to analyse the RTS project, the "concept of RTS in terms of its implementability", its preparation and finalisation by National Database Regulatory Authority (Nadra), the quality and extent of training imparted to its users, the "train of events taking place on the night of July 25 and thereafter", fix responsibility [for any malfunction] and make recommendations for future, according to the terms of reference decided by the commission, read a letter written to the Cabinet Division secretary.

The inquiry, ordered under the powers extended to the commission under Article 220 and 218 (3) of the constitution, will have to be completed within four weeks, the letter issued from Director Elections Nadeem Qasim's office said.

The controversy around the RTS, a mobile application created by Nadra and employed by the ECP to relay results [Form 45s] from polling stations to the commission, had begun when ECP secretary claimed late into July 25 that the system had 'malfunctioned'.

Political parties, including the PPP and the PML-N, have since demanded a parliamentary commission into the matter while Nadra officials have denied that the RTS crashed on election eve. They instead went on to claim that it could have been the commission's Result Management System (RMS) that may have crashed adding that Nadra received results from around 50 per cent of polling stations before the commission directed its officers to stop using RTS.

The ECP has continued to insist that the delay in announcement of results, which had cast doubts on the fairness of the entire electoral process, had been because of the fault in RTS.