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ISLAMABAD, April 23: The chairman of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), Tariq Malik, has said that for the first time in the country’s history the elections this year will be held on the basis of ‘one person, one CNIC and one vote’.

“This is because each eligible CNIC holder is now a voter and each voter entry is backed up by Nadra’s biometric system,” he said while talking to Hannah Roberts, Deputy Chief of European Union’s Election Observer Mission to Pakistan, who called on him along with an EU delegation here on Tuesday.

On the occasion, Mr Malik said: “Credible, fair and accurate electoral rolls are a key benchmark to ensure free and transparent elections.” He informed his guests about the steps taken by Nadra for preparation of accurate and transparent electoral rolls.

The EU mission was informed that till the 2008 elections, the electoral rolls were prepared only through door-to-door enumeration, but this resulted in absence of any authentic data to back up the entire process.

However, through the digitisation and scanning process, the data of about 81 million voters compiled during preparation of previous electoral rolls was transferred by the ECP to Nadra for verification of voters.

“All such records which were not backed up by a CNIC have been removed since the CNIC has been declared to be a prerequisite for registration as a voter,” Nadra chief said, adding that as a result some 15m entries of ‘identity-less’, 9m duplicate and 13m invalid voters had been expunged from the voters’ lists.

During the process, he said, 36m people had been found to have been in possession of valid CNICs, yet they were disenfranchised and these 36m new voters had now been added to the final electoral rolls.

The EU mission was told that a total of 86.19m voters had been registered in the current electoral rolls. Of these, there were 49.25m voters in Punjab, 18.96m in Sindh, 3.3m in Balochistan, 12.2m in KP, 1.7m in Fata and 0.62m in Islamabad.

Mr Malik said that for the first time the female registration had been doubled over the last four years, with a sharp increase of registered women to 86 per cent in 2012 from only 50 per cent in 2008, thus taking the total number of registered female voters to 37.6m.

Mr Malik also highlighted the mechanism of Photo Electoral Rolls which have been introduced for the first time to bring in transparency and accuracy. He said that presiding officers would now have an access to photo electoral rolls and these would help in establishing identity of voters before issuance of ballot papers.

The left thumb would be captured through magnetic ink which would be matched with the biometrics of voter soon after elections, he added.