ISLAMABAD: Eight candidates vying for the apex body of architects filed an objection petition alleging that Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners (PCATP) elections have been “stolen through a cyber-attack”.

The petition has filed before the convener of election committee of PCATP by Jahangir Khan Sherpao, Azhar Mamoon Sualehi, Ahmad Mukhtar, Husnain Raza Khan, Mansoor Ahmad, Farman Ullah, Fahad Nizamani and Mahjabeen Bugti. The objectors have alleged that the elections have been stolen through hacking orchestrated by incumbent Chairperson M. Arif Changezi.

In their objection petition, the objectors have relied upon an official email which was sent by Oathsystems (Pvt.) Limited, the company entrusted with carrying out online elections, to the registrar, PCATP at 2:04pm on March 7, 2023.

In this email, the company has plainly admitted that some party orchestrated a hacking attack on the online voting system, and succeeded in manipulating the results.

The email states: “We witnessed an attack on our voting system at around 2am on 7th March, 2023.

“As a result of this attack, our voting result was manipulated ... During our rectification process, the voting system was unavailable to the members for around 3 hrs … Despite the fact that we carefully corrected every piece of data we cannot certify the result.”

After receiving this email, two members of PCATP’s election committee expressly rejected the election results. A third member Yusuf Awan, who was also the committee’s convener, wrote: “Report of Consultants IT be attached and shared with contestants and uploaded on the website.”

Two out of five members of the election committee approved the results.

Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2023

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