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ECP to use thumbprint-tracing technology to help counter fake votes

Published Dec 01, 2012 05:15pm

Objectionable votes will be dispatched to Nadra for verification through thumbprints. – File photo
Objectionable votes will be dispatched to Nadra for verification through thumbprints. – File photo

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has vowed to tackle fake votes with the help of technology in the upcoming general elections.

ECP’s Additional Secretary Muhammad Afzal Khan has said that in a bid to hold “free and fair elections,” the body will employ “thumbprint-tracing technology” and ensure irregularities are avoided in the polling process.

“Objectionable votes will be dispatched to Nadra (National Database and Registration Authority) for verification through thumbprints. The thumbprints on ballot papers will be matched with those on the Nadra database,” Khan said.

A vote which is termed fake after cross-checking with Nadra would be termed null and void, according to Khan, who added that only those voters who are in possession of genuine computerised national identity cards (CNICs) would be allowed to cast their votes.

ECP has also promised to ensure that no ghost polling stations are reported during the next polls.

Underlining the body’s intolerance for irregularities, Khan said: “ECP will disqualify those candidates who are found to be part of a rigged poll and they will also be declared ineligible for the next elections.”

Khan said that all security forces, including the army, rangers and police will be at the ECP’s disposal for three days (a day before and after) during the elections.

“The ECP will get details of polling-station staff and security personnel deployed there, including their names, thumbprints, designations, addresses and others,” the additional secretary said, adding that all security personnel deployed at polling stations would be bound to obey orders of presiding officers who would be given powers of first-class magistrate during three days of elections.

“If security personnel and other government staff deployed at polling staff are found to be involved in malpractice or disobeying orders of the presiding officer, he or she would be punished, which could lead to dismissal from service and imprisonment.”