KARACHI: “Overseas Pakistanis will not be allowed to vote on July 25,” clarified an official of the National Database Regulatory Authority (Nadra) spokesperson after a misleading image was being circulated on social media earlier this week.
The image that was trending on social media and applications had link to a website www.overseasvoting.gov.pk, which does not exist.
The spokesperson went on to say: “The Supreme Court of Pakistan is yet to decide on granting online voting rights to Pakistanis living abroad, in the next hearing which will take place after the general elections [scheduled to be held on July 25].”
The issue of overseas voting gained attention during the last general elections.
Despite a passage of five years and its second strategic plan (2014-2018), in which the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had aimed to develop a plan for Overseas Pakistani voters, as stated under section 94 (1) of the Elections Act, 2017: “The Commission may conduct pilot projects for voting by Overseas Pakistanis in by-elections to ascertain the technical efficacy, secrecy, security and financial feasibility of such voting.”
However, it failed to do so.
An ECP spokesperson confirmed that a task force was made keeping in view the law. “The team consisted of IT professionals and elections experts who presented a report to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, pointing out secrecy of ballot papers and no documentation in physical form as main reasons for this decision.”
He added that the pilot project will run during the by-elections as an experiment to be made operational for the general elections.