The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday officially published fresh electoral rolls compiled on the basis of computerised national identity cards.
“Today is a significant day. The printing of new electoral rolls marks the commencement of the election process. Registration of new voters will continue till the schedule for the polls is announced,” Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G Ebrahim said at a news conference. The lists are available in soft and hard copies throughout the country and can be viewed on the ECP website as well as the commission’s district offices. Citizens can also SMS their national identity card number to 8300 to see their area of voting.
The new list contains 84.36 million registered voters. The publication of voters’ lists will minimise the chance of multiple entries. NADRA had maintained earlier that 37% of the entries in the rolls compiled for the 2008 general elections were either duplicates or fake.
Though the chief election commissioner has ruled out the chances of fake and multiple entries in the new electoral lists, he said there might be an issue in the change of addresses of certain voters.
Ebrahim said some voters have been registered on the basis of permanent addresses stated on their NICs, but have changed their residence and want to vote from where they are currently residing.
Election Commission Secretary Ishtiak Ahmad Khan said 4 million overseas Pakistanis have also been given the right to vote. He, however, said the mode through which they will cast their ballots has not been determined yet, adding that postal ballot was the only viable option, but requires due legislation.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2012.