Removal of top NADRA officials sought over results transmission system failure

Published: August 26, 2018
Representational image. PHOTO: AFP

Representational image. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: In a report presented to Prime Minister Imran Khan, an inquiry committee recommended removal of top National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) officials, including its chief Usman Yousuf Mobeen, after finding them responsible for the failure of Results Transmission System (RTS) during July 25th elections.

The committee, headed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Azam Khan Swati and comprising experts in information technology, was tasked to probe collapse of the mobile phone app designed and operated by the country’s database authority to electronically transmit 2018 general elections’ results on the polling day.

In its preliminary report, the committee concluded that Nadra Chairman DG Projects Zulfiqar Ali and DG Software Development Ahmareen Ahmed – a close relative of Mobeen – should also be removed from their positions immediately as their “criminal negligence” created “unnecessary doubts” over free and fair elections.

Poll result app never crashed: NADRA

The RTS was supposed to help presiding officers transmit results to returning officers (ROs) and the Election Commission Pakistan (ECP) in real-time. The system, however, collapsed on the night of July 25th during the compilation of final results.

Where the election organising authority had acknowledged the failure, Nadra had rebutted the claim insisting that RTS was functioning but had slowed down given the sudden influx of results.

Nadra said the administrative control of RTS to handle operation including user management, candidates’ addition, deletion and editing, constituencies and polling scheme management and device registration was with the ECP.

The authority maintained that it only provided technical hosting services for the backend system. It claimed that the RTS was never stopped and worked properly on the poll day.

ECP completes initial probe in RTS fiasco

According to a statement issued by the PTI Central Media Department, Senator Swati held one-on-one meeting with PM Imran on Saturday and presented before him the preliminary report.

The premier advised Swati to get the opinion of forensic experts before making the report public. The PTI said Swati also requested the PM Imran to suspend Nadra officials maintaining that a transparent inquiry was not possible in their presence.

Senator Swati told The Express Tribune that a complete forensic audit will be carried out by Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cyber Crime Wing and other related government departments. The investigation report will be handed over to the committee to finalise the findings.

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