Voter verification campaign to begin next month

Exercise to remove people living in Pakistan illegally

Irfan Ghauri July 11, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is planning to conduct door-to-door verification of registered voters next month in an effort to make the voters’ list authentic.

It has already sent directives to all district election commissioners to recruit schoolteachers in their respective areas as verifying officers.

The extensive drive — to be carried out from August 1 to August 15 — is considered to be the most important component of the exercise called the electoral rolls review. The last such exercise was held in 2012.

According to a copy of the plan available with The Express Tribune, the process of the voters’ list revision started on July 29 and would be wrapped up by October 22 with the printing of a new voters’ list. The ECP expects the total number of voters in the country to reach around 98 million from the current 93 million.

Nadra has provided the ECP printed copies of electoral area-wise census block codes. The lists also have the names of people who have died, surrendered their nationality or their computerised national identity cards (CNICs) have been cancelled.

The exercise is expected to remove hundreds of thousands of people who have been living in Pakistan illegally and got CNICs.

The ECP plans to physically verify over five million people who have attained the age of 18 years -- the minimum age to get registered as a voter. Similarly, those who died or relinquished their Pakistani nationality would be deleted after the verification process.

Thousands of verifying officers -- mostly teachers of government schools -- will visit permanent addresses of people for crosschecking.

The government pays Rs7,000 to each teacher while those appointed as assistant registration officers are paid Rs10,000 each for this exclusive exercise. Once the physical verification completes, five days have been reserved to compile the data after which draft electoral rolls will be put on display for 21 days at various display centres in the country.

At the display centres, which are mostly schools of a local area, people can re-verify if their credentials mentioned in the draft electoral rolls were correct. In case of any anomaly, a person can approach registration officers for correction.

If done honestly, the door-to-door verification drive is a good way to make electoral rolls authentic. However, the general public, political parties in particular, hardly give importance to the voters’ list except on the day of elections. The same is the case with verifying officers. Hardly a few do it as a national duty.

ECP officials said they also plan to launch a mass media campaign to check their vote status by sending their CNIC numbers to 8300 through SMS.

In case of any discrepancy, prescribed forms will be available at local display centres or applications could be submitted to enrol or transfer a vote. Similarly, people could also apply for correction and deletion of votes, if required.

The ECP also plans to celebrate National Voters Day on December 7.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2016.


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