Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience



Your Name:

Recipient Email:

Election symbols 670 x 350
File photo

ISLAMABAD: In compliance with an order of the Supreme Court, the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has devised a software to help 4.5 million overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in the coming general elections.

The $1.5 million software will help overseas Pakistanis in 15 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, Saudi Arabia, UAE, France and Australia, to vote at 150 polling stations. However, approval of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be required to prepare required legislation.

Nadra chairman Tariq Malik said at a news conference that a detailed briefing would be given to ECP on the software on Monday and if the ECP approved it, a briefing would be arranged for the Supreme Court.

The chairman said that almost 70 per cent of overseas Pakistanis were living in Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries where there was a ban on political gatherings and rallies. Therefore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would have to get permission for polling process in those countries, he added.

“Permission from those countries and travel arrangements of Nadra officers have to be completed by April 5 because establishment of polling stations for e-voting will be a lengthy process. One computer, printer, thumb digitiser and secure internet connection will be required at every poling station,” he said.

Mr Malik said overseas Pakistanis would get the facility of e-voting through embassies. Polling stations will be set up in designated missions. A biometric system will also be installed in the poling stations to avoid casting of bogus votes.

On the polling day voters will have to come to the polling station. They will be required to produce machine readable passports and National Identity Cards. The process of voting will be simple and the vote will be cast in the ECP database without recording identity of the voter.

On completion of polling, the ECP will have electronic results available in its database. Constituency-wise aggregated result will be printed by the ECP and faxed to returning officers for inclusion in preliminary results. “Although software appears to be safe, it has never been used in Pakistan, so Nadra will suggest that polling for overseas Pakistanis should be arranged two or three days prior to elections,” he said.


Comments (47) Closed

TamzaK Apr 01, 2013 02:42am
Wonderful. Now IF only this could be done ONLINE.
Taimur Apr 01, 2013 02:45am
Oh better late than never! The last paragraph sounds a bit fishy though. They suggest overseas polling should be done 2-3 days prior to local polling. Is that because they want to give the corrupt parties an idea on how hard they need to work on their favorite polling station casting fake votes?
Basharat Apr 01, 2013 02:56am
I sincerely hope to see this happening ASAP without any disagreement/opposition by PPP and PML-N. Basharat Ali Toronto
Pakistan Professional Forum member, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Apr 01, 2013 03:36am
This is a very good news for overseas Pakistani to cast their votes with honesty and without influence and "gun point" threats. Looking forward to see this works and required permissions obtained from countries. By e-voting PPP will loose (Inshallah) based on massive corruption and killing in the country.
viki Apr 01, 2013 03:54am
it is good option for overseas voters to cast their vote but i dont think it can be mature and safe enough at the moment because being a developer im sure there can be alot back tricks you can play to show different facts and figures in the database. A suggestion they should keep the record for the people who are casting their vote or they can even verify from online link. or they should make the software to the international market to check the back door in it, so that no one can dodge the system.
sfomann Apr 01, 2013 04:19am
This is absolutely wonderful news. I am a Pakistani living abroad and the government must provide a way for me to exercise my right to vote.
janan Apr 01, 2013 04:27am
This mean Pakistanis living in Dubai has to go to Consult general tell you what on normal days if one go their for example for renewal of Passport or other document one have to spend whole day and its the only Consult in Dubai with a mess in and out of the building. Guess what will be picture of that building when hundreds of thousands Pakistanis turn to cast vote. And who much one have to wait. However to bring those corrupt "Aansir" back into business we have to vote (pity).
Husain Jan Apr 01, 2013 04:28am
Yes, good news for sure. But what about those countries where there is no Pak embassy / mission and thus no polling stations. It would be an injustice if all those living abroad are not provided with voting facility.
Ammar (@aamro1992) Apr 01, 2013 04:32am
Bye Bye PPP! Hello Immy bhai
Nadir Apr 01, 2013 04:53am
I hope this facility comes in effect and hope it is available to overseas pakistanis in Malaysia as well..
HK Apr 01, 2013 05:06am
A small ratio of overseas Pakistanis may cast vote. May be 1 out of 10,000. I don't really think there was a need of a software for this if everybody has to go to polling station (Embassy or consulate) to cast their votes. Another waist of public money by a bunch of Nadra idiots.
altairahmad65 Apr 01, 2013 05:32am
Everyone has the right to vote. A system should be there even if 0 out of 10,000 voters vote. It is one time investment and a good use of public money and with the political environment you never know how many Pakistanis may end up voting overseas. A very god step indeed.
Shayan Sumar Apr 01, 2013 05:36am
anyone have a full list of the 15 countries?
Abdullah Bilour Apr 01, 2013 05:45am
Great news! I hope this can be implemented ASAP. Pakistan Paindabad
Rizwan Apr 01, 2013 06:02am
This is good initiative and effort by NADRA. To ensure stakeholders confidence in the system I strongly suggest to get this system audited by credible 3rd party auditors from information security and compliance with ECP rules. We at Malaysia strongly want to cast our votes for better and strong Pakistan and don't want this initiative to fail.
Kamal Apr 01, 2013 06:05am
It is a great news, I ll surely go with my family to vote Imran. I have a plan to visit Pakistani just to caste the vote, I only afraid, the Pakistani consulate arrangements. Though, they care organized in such a way where people have to less wait, I am sure, they will never do it.. But even than i ll go with my family and we ll vote.
Shahryar Shirazi Apr 01, 2013 06:14am
I have my NIC, a US passport and expired Pakistani passport. Am I eligible ? I have never voted in Pakistan and didn't do any paper work to this date. Have I missed the boat ?
Shahryar Shirazi Apr 01, 2013 06:15am
As much as it might be ugly, you guys must go - Please do so
Shahryar Shirazi Apr 01, 2013 06:20am
If you are in Europe, just take a train and you are in a country within couple of hours which has a Pakistani embassy. If not, Ryan air is an option too :)
OnePakistan Apr 01, 2013 06:22am
About time !!!!!! Finally a democratic process that can potentially bring about an effective change. Who knows, may be the overseas Pakistanis can liberate the Pakistanis living in their own country !!!! Once upon a time, it was Indian Pakistanis and Pakistanis at heart who dreamt of this land and gave their lives for its realization.....resulting in the change that we came into being !!!
Kash Apr 01, 2013 06:31am
Apathy brings in incompetence and curruption at the highet levels of the country.. listen to this guy's video..!
Vigilant Apr 01, 2013 06:32am
it will not be possible for Overseas Pakistanis in gulf region to cast vote because of Passport condition......Nadra management must consider the fact that Pakistani expats passports are with employers. If NICOP or CNIC is the only document required then it's a practical solution.
Muhammad yousaf Apr 01, 2013 06:42am
I am a pakistani origin canadian . I am retired but visiting my son inSan Francisco . I am wondering if pakistan has a consulate office in this area For sure bye bye ppp and pml (n). Welcome Imran Khan
Sultan Alvi, Toronto Apr 01, 2013 06:52am
I am confident most of us living abroad will overwhelmingly vote for Imran Khan and PTI. Let us kick these corrupt 'Noora Kushti' guys out of office for good. Let us all help Imran Khan to build a NEW PAKISTAN...InshaAllah!
ABL Apr 01, 2013 07:02am
Interesting! I live with my family in Africa and do not have access to renew my passports which are machine readable. This means, i cannot vote despite of millions spent on this high tech e-voting system. Supreme Court should order first to make MRP available to all Pakistanis abroad.
S Apr 01, 2013 07:14am
Mr. HK, this is being done to comply with Supreme court orders. Please dont comment if you are unaware of the background & obviously SC knows more than yourself!!
Hassham Apr 01, 2013 07:43am
Say Bye Bye to PPP and PML-N and ANP and MQM and Maulana Fazlu.. Clean Sweep is becoming a reality as elections are approaching closer
Mushtaq Khan Apr 01, 2013 08:07am
Great News......... Now Legend Mr. Imran will WIN.... We overseas are only with him
T Pervez Apr 01, 2013 08:11am
My passport was recenlty renewed at the Pak Embassy in Dublin; and like many others, it is NOT machine readable !!!! I hope the GOV comes up with a solution.
Abdul Wahab-Pakistan Apr 01, 2013 08:27am
Those who are living in Africa should also be taken in to account. For instance the democratic republic of the Congo having around 5000 Pakistan military and approximately 2000 civilians both working at the United Nations Mission and in private service should be able to add their voice to the much awaited and extremely important elections.
Hassan, Dubai Apr 01, 2013 08:43am
Supreme Court, NADRA, ECP; all are very smart. They have some Magic Wand which will enable all the said arrangement (ECP Approval, SC Approval, Foreign Countries Approval, System installation in Countries etc etc) in a matter of days? This is another big Topi to the Nation, specifically to Overseas Pakistani.
KAYMAN Apr 01, 2013 08:44am
Great News... We feel change is coming.. perfect example to start with
Shahryar Shirazi Apr 01, 2013 08:50am
Sir, no the closest consulate is in LA in the Westwood area. You can find it online.
Faizan Apr 01, 2013 08:50am
Do overseas Pakistanis include Pakistani nationals who are studying abroad? And is Singapore included in the list of fifteen countries?
waseem Apr 01, 2013 08:59am
Supreme court believes that they know about everything more than anyone else. as this is supreme court, so this is law, and above law, please do not differ, otherwise you will be indicted for contempt of court (judicial censorship)
eskay Apr 01, 2013 09:14am
good stuff!
Subhan Apr 01, 2013 09:25am
mashALLAH.. thats a great news.. hoping it will be implemented in this election
wazir Apr 01, 2013 09:37am
jis ka vote register nahi hay vo is software say vote coast kar sakta hy?
Omair Hassan Apr 01, 2013 09:41am
Assalam U Alikum, I am living in Bangkok, Thailand. Many of Pakistani people living here in Thailand. So we also want to cost our vote. overseas Pakistanis in 15 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, Saudi Arabia, UAE, France and Australia. But Thailand not including in the software
Sohail Apr 01, 2013 10:30am
SOFTWARE kahan se milyga bhai?
Hassan, Dubai Apr 01, 2013 10:54am
well said waseem
Tariq Apr 01, 2013 11:10am
All people of Pakistani origin living abroad with a current NIC card are eligible to cast their vote. Their machine readable passport either be of Pakistan or of the dual nationality of the county of residence.
Omer Apr 01, 2013 11:37am
Yes students studying in other countries have a right to vote.
Omer Apr 01, 2013 11:45am
Dual nationals are eligible to vote. In your case you will have to wait and see whether ECP allows people to cast their votes who only have a NIC, in the meantime you always can renew your passport.
Saad Siddiqui Apr 01, 2013 12:22pm
NADRA developed its own software in 2007, it offered that software to Govt. for 2008 elections but Govt. refused , this kind of software is not a big deal to develop.
Patriotic Pakistani Apr 01, 2013 06:27pm
I think they should first try and solve the problems that the overseas pakistanis are facing when it comes to renewing their passports and stuff!
Patriotic Pakistani Apr 01, 2013 06:28pm
Even Thailand will be included!