Elections 2018: ROs predict possible failure of Results Transmission System

Published: July 25, 2018
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PHOTO:AFP

PHOTO:AFP

ISLAMABAD: A number of returning officers from Punjab have predicted a ‘possible failure’ of the Results Transmission System on the day of polls, as ‘anomalies’ have been witnessed in the system during the registration process of presiding officers.

RTS is to be used to transmit results of the general elections held on Wednesday.

The system will enable presiding officers to transmit result to returning officers and to the Election Commission Pakistan in real-time.

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Just a day before polling, returning officers from Faisalabad, Okara and other cities wrote separate letters to the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) – the manufacturer of Android application, which will enable election officers to send election results to the Election Commission of Pakistan in real time – complaining about working of RTS.

Documents available with The Express Tribune suggest that Shahid Ali Khokhar, Civil Judge Class-I/Returning Officer PP-97 (Faisalabad-I), has sent a letter to NADRA on July 23 under the subject ‘Failure of RTS Registration System’.

“This is to bring into your notice that RTS system introduced by NADRA is not working properly. Registration process (of presiding officers) was started on July 18, and there were so many anomalies in the system and it could not work,” the RO said.

He added that later NADRA informed that the system had been fixed and on July 22 the registration process was re-initiated. “Just 50 presiding officers were registered and RTS system’s link went down, barring completion of registration process.”

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“I have the apprehension that in such circumstances your RTS system will not perform on the poll day,” the RO stated.

Similarly, another letter has been written by Additional Sessions Judge, Okara, who is appointed as Returning Officer of NA-142. He also pointed out irregularities in the system and said: “Polling stations of PP-188 (Okara) and corresponding polling stations of this constituency are not reflected in the app (RTS).”

It is further noted that names of candidates of this constituency are not in order according to form No.33 (list of contesting candidates) prepared and approved earlier”.

“There are serious concerns which require earlier redressal at your end so that the objective of the RTS and its usefulness for the purpose may be achieved,” the judge added.

A highly placed source in NADRA has confirmed that similar letters have been received from a number of ROs especially in Punjab. He apprehended that due to possible failure of the RTS system, serious issues related to transparency may arise on the night of poll day.

NADRA has provided technical assistance to the ECP for development of mobile-based result transmission system for the presiding officers.

A senior NADRA official when contacted said the RTS system was successfully tested through pilot projects conducted in NA-4, Peshawar and PS-114, Karachi by-election last year. He hoped that it would work properly on the night of poll day.

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