ECP's '8300' SMS system wins international award

Published: December 4, 2013

ECP wins the Accessibility Award for launching services for millions of voters to verify their votes.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has won its first ever international award today, as an international parliamentary organization acknowledged its services for promoting democracy during the elections. 

The win was announced at the International Electoral Awards 2013 held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The ECP was nominated for this award by the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies on its launching of services for millions of voters to verify their votes through the ‘8300 SMS Service’ prior to the May 2013 elections.

The ECP won the Accessibility Award, beating other finalists, the Republic of the Philippines Commission on Elections and the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa.

“Khizer Aziz, Director General IT, today, received an award in Malaysia,” a senior ECP official told The Express Tribune.

The ECP also received applause from several other parliamentary organizations on its active role for conducting fair polls in Pakistan.

The winning system

In a bid to remove errors from electoral lists, the Election Commission of Pakistan had launched an SMS service to facilitate 85 million voters to verify their votes before the general elections this year.

The service had been launched in collaboration with the National Database and Registration Authority to help registered voters check the status of their votes and other particulars.

Registered voters could send their Computerised National Identity Cards (CNIC) number without hyphens via SMS to 8300 at anytime from anywhere in the country.

After sending the SMS, the voter would subsequently receive a message containing their name, village, city, tehsil or district, location (electoral area) and the serial number of vote registered in the preliminary electoral rolls. The system later also provided the address of their polling station.

Usage

More than 51.8 million citizens used the SMS service to verify their voting information ahead of the May 11 polls.

A whopping 29.2 million voters between the ages of 18 and 35-years-old used the service, according to details provided by NADRA. Over 10.4 million people belonged to the 36 to 46-year-old age bracket, 6.7 million from 46 to 56-years old, 4 million voters from the 56 to 66 age bracket and 1.5 million from the age of 66 and above.

Some 28.8 million voters hailed from urban areas and 23 million voters from rural areas.

Earlier, the ECP had been nominated for launching the “World’s Biggest Voters SMS Service” of over 83 million data density and for over 100 million mobile users in the country in ‘one go” by the Guinness World Records.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • MK
    Dec 4, 2013 - 10:11PM

    To be honest the real award should be for the bio-metric verification which has proven and highlighted the blatant rigging.

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  • A2Z
    Dec 4, 2013 - 10:21PM

    NADRA is the main body behind this, the best ad securest National Database in the world.

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  • just_someone
    Dec 4, 2013 - 10:25PM

    Great job, good to see creative solutions coming out of Pakistan to help establish democracy.

    We have to keep the course with democracy. The system is far from perfect but it can only improve if we stay democratic and keep trying creative solutions to help OUR democracy (and not try to necessarily copy the western model or the Indian model). These kind of tools (along with biometric verification) will give Pakistanis real democracy and eventually the will of the people will ensure a better Pakistan. Pakistanis yearn for a great Pakistan. Lets keep fighting for it!

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  • NaMaloom Afrad
    Dec 4, 2013 - 11:10PM

    @MK:
    bro, you are wrong… Real award should go to NA 246 officers for counting 200,00 votes in less than 4 hours

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  • Tahir
    Dec 4, 2013 - 11:58PM

    Kudos.

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  • Salman
    Dec 5, 2013 - 12:14AM

    Serious…I something ‘good’ has happen…appreciate it for once…I for one congratulate ECP n coming up with this unique idea..It was really helpful.

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  • Crusader
    Dec 5, 2013 - 1:59AM

    The ECP was nominated for this award by the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies on its launching of services for millions of voters to verify their votes through the ‘8300 SMS Service’ prior to the May 2013 elections.
    The 8300 SMS service was good but what was the end result…massive rigging in the general election. It just could not be translated to the final countdown.
    Though wishing for a revamped system in the next elections.

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  • Parvez Amin
    Dec 5, 2013 - 5:49AM

    Now let us cast votes by telephone. I am sure ECP can do that – if asked to do so.

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  • Raheel
    Dec 5, 2013 - 9:23AM

    I was also excited to get my vote through this but then whats the use when elections were so overwhelmingly rigged

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  • Abdul Nasir
    Dec 5, 2013 - 9:25AM

    Congratulations to ECP and my friend Khizar Aziz, DG IT, ECP. I used the service for which ECP has been awarded. The service was really amazing. Khizar and his team provided a service to the people at their door step. I appreciate them all.
    As far as rigging is concerned; we as a nation are submerged into the sea of corruption. How can we come out of it? Nobody knows. If someone has some cognition, he/she can’t do anything substantial, because as a first step, he/she him/her-self will have to forego a lot to contribute for correction of a minor part of the system. So, as a result – status quo is going on in which we all are living in. Elections just change the faces, not on the basis of our votes rather, on the basis of foreign agendas and mafias. We haven’t yet, since independence, got a popular government which would have come in power on the basis of our votes. Sentiments of commenters are correct viz a viz results of the elections.
    The facility provided by ECP was not a guarantee and protection against corrupt practices of our voting process. We all have strong belief in the corrupt practices, what we do observe in our daily lives. We sacrifice animals, not our privileges. What kind of people and what kind of Muslims we are!

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  • Khalid Waheed
    Dec 5, 2013 - 1:14PM

    This is off course a big achievement by ECP. Congradulations to ECP and Khizar Aziz DG ECP. I wish more reforms be introduced to make ECP and Electoral system strong, free, transparent and exemplary for other Democracies.
    Good luck

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  • qais
    Dec 5, 2013 - 6:04PM
  • asad
    Dec 9, 2013 - 2:18PM

    @MK: but something is better than nothing,
    we should appreciate it

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