ECP opposes online voting system for overseas Pakistanis

Published: April 8, 2013
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ECP says allowing overseas Pakistanis to vote via a non-certified computerised system can be disastrous for the electoral process. DESIGN: EMA ANIS

ECP says allowing overseas Pakistanis to vote via a non-certified computerised system can be disastrous for the electoral process. DESIGN: EMA ANIS

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) opposed an online voting system for overseas Pakistanis, in its report submitted to the Supreme Court on Monday, Express News reported.

The commission stated that allowing overseas Pakistanis to vote via a non-certified computerised system could be disastrous for the electoral process.

The report added that a law needs to be devised to give voting rights to overseas Pakistanis.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed was hearing two identical petitions seeking right to suffrage for overseas Pakistanis.

Of the 4.5 million overseas Pakistanis registered to vote, around 1.7 million live in Saudi Arabia, 1.3 million live in the UAE, 277,131 live in Oman, 131,589 live in Kuwait and 80,166 live in Bahrain – most of these countries do not allow such political activities.

Of the remaining number, 367,988 registered Pakistani voters live the in UK, 131,589 in the US, 90,148 in Canada, 56,495 in Greece, 55,851 in Malaysia, 39,618 in Spain, 23,585 in France and 15,728 live in Australia.

Their votes could have significant impact on their native constituencies. Possible misuse, as such, creates an equally grave threat for the electoral process.

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Reader Comments (45)

  • Zog
    Apr 8, 2013 - 4:28PM

    Pls stop these excuses…..
    Let overseas Pakistani vote….
    The scope for fraud is likely to be much less than risk of fraud in Pakistan..

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  • Apr 8, 2013 - 4:30PM

    *Why don’t ECP intall ballot boxes in Pakistan’s Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates? *

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  • Lobster
    Apr 8, 2013 - 4:35PM

    I, despite, my desire to vote, agree with the reservations of ECP.

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  • Hasan Mehmood
    Apr 8, 2013 - 4:45PM

    {most of these countries do not allow such political activities}
    What rubbish. I am in OMAN and various nationalities are allowed to vote for their home country elections. In a few days overseas voting by Philipines expatriates is going to commence spread over a few weeks to avoid rush.

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  • Yas
    Apr 8, 2013 - 4:49PM

    Change is scary, but necessary. Biometric certification is one of the secure in the world. ECP has to implement a system for Overseas Pakistanis sooner or later, so why not now.

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  • Maddy
    Apr 8, 2013 - 4:50PM

    What a lame excuse that “those counteries don’t allow political activities”. Most of the middle east countries are ruled by royal families. If you are too much worried about their Royal political systems, then why do our so called democratic president/PMs visits them?

    Such a disappointment ECP sigh

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  • Kaleem
    Apr 8, 2013 - 5:08PM

    Next time, a comprehensive e-voting system should be formed to facilitate pakistanis everywhere, even in pakistan. This will dramatically increase voting turnout as 30 million pakistanis use internet.

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  • Salman Chaudhary
    Apr 8, 2013 - 5:18PM

    All Pakistani citizens, regardless of where they live, should be allowed to vote in the coming elections.

    If electronic voting is not feasible, then lets use postal ballots and/or physical voting booths in Pakistani embassies and consulates around the world. Overseas voters are already registered through their CNIC or NICOPs, so it should be really easy to print out voter lists for each overseas country.

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  • Usama Bin Ahmed
    Apr 8, 2013 - 5:32PM

    And hence those 4.5million votes would be used for rigging purpose ..

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  • Yasir Mehmood
    Apr 8, 2013 - 5:38PM

    Good osp should Not be allowed to vote. Once you left Pakistan you are no more stakeholders. Try to adapt and integrate in your new country. I dont want a foreign national influencing my country ‘s elections.

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  • Usman Lakhani
    Apr 8, 2013 - 5:40PM

    BabyBhutto just commented on Twitter that the head of ECP is 2 million years old and used to play with Dinosaurs.. Expecting him to allow E-voting for overseas Pakistanis is stupid!

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  • Salman Chaudhary
    Apr 8, 2013 - 5:57PM

    Yasin Mehmood, all Pakistani citizens have the same rights, including voting, regardless of where they currently live. Of course, people of Pakistani origin who have given up their Pakistani nationality and no longer possess a Pakistani passport, do not have the same rights and should not be eligible to vote in Pakistan elections.

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  • Babablacksheep
    Apr 8, 2013 - 5:59PM

    yes they can accept the transfer of billions of dollars OVER THE LINE each year but cann`t accept the vote.

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  • adil
    Apr 8, 2013 - 6:05PM

    Worst treatment of expats by any country. The country will shut down if expats stop sending remittances…

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  • John the Baptist
    Apr 8, 2013 - 6:12PM

    @Yasir Mehmood:

    Utterly moronic statement–most overseas Pakistanis have Pakistani passports only so they remain a citizen of Pakistan. If you are ever get out of your egg shell, you will learn that Saudi Arabia, UAE, etc. DO NOT give citizenship to Pakistani Ajamis.

    Next time you use your laptop which was made abroad or put petrol in your car, thank the Pakistanis abroad for sending the forex that pays for a major part of these items (our trade balance is negative).Recommend

  • Mohammad
    Apr 8, 2013 - 6:27PM

    They only need cash from us (overseas Pakistanis) but not vote.. !

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  • Only PTI
    Apr 8, 2013 - 7:17PM

    LOL…Surprisingly NO OTHER PARTY EXCEPT PTI is interested in getting overseas Pakistanis a right to vote. This tells you which party will get the vote from the majority of this 4.5 million!

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  • fz
    Apr 8, 2013 - 7:20PM

    ECP makes sense

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  • Pakistani American
    Apr 8, 2013 - 7:51PM

    @yasir mehmood- In addition to “John the Baptist” and “Salman Chaudry” overseas Pakistani’s are on the Pakistan’s greatest assets. We participate and take interest in the future and growth of Pakistan and Pakistani’s by choice and not by chance (like several Pakistan’s in Pakistan do).

    Please explain why overseas Pakistanis should continue to send foreign exchange to Pakistan and not be given a right to vote?

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  • Abdul Rashid
    Apr 8, 2013 - 7:54PM

    ECP should prepare for Epolls for the next elections immediately from now on and don’t leave it for debate when elections are on the head. Then both overseas Pakistanis and locals should be facilitated to use this system.

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  • sure?
    Apr 8, 2013 - 8:16PM

    @Yasir Mehmood: “Good osp should Not be allowed to vote. Once you left Pakistan you are no more stakeholders. Try to adapt and integrate in your new country. I dont want a foreign national influencing my country ‘s elections.”

    People living in middle east are not foreign nationals. That is where bulk of the people are by the way…

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  • sure?
    Apr 8, 2013 - 8:20PM

    @Pakistani American: “Please explain why overseas Pakistanis should continue to send foreign exchange to Pakistan and not be given a right to vote?”

    The money is sent to family members for household expenses – so that is not a favour to the government by any means. India got 71 billion in forex remittances last year and does not facilitate voting by overseas Indians. In any case people with foreign nationality do not have even a right to vote in India. This does not prevent remittances which are for friends and family.

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  • Apr 8, 2013 - 8:29PM

    One does not understand the reluctance of the ECP to give voting rights to 4.5 million registered overseas Pakistani voters.This sort of delaying tactics is bound to create the impression that ECP is tacitly strengthening the hands of statuesque political parties.

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  • John the Baptist
    Apr 8, 2013 - 8:53PM

    @sure?:

    In any case people with foreign nationality do not have even a right to vote in India. This does not prevent remittances which are for friends and family.

    The answer to your first comment is that NO ONE is asking for non-Pakistanis to vote. The Pakistani law says they can, and this is Pakistan, not India. I really don’t care what their law says, it is their problem. If you have an issue, move to Bombay.

    Your second comment clearly portrays the low level of your economic knowledge–we, as a ntion, have a big trade deficit, which means we earn less dollars selling stuff than we need to buy stuff like oil, medicines, machinery, compuetrs, etc. This is where the remittances come in–they not only plug the gap but leave a surplus equivalent to 10X import cover. Without this, no one will lend us a single penny in the global market. And, the families dont spend £ and $–the government gives them rupees against the forex sent.

    I really can’t believe that I haveto explain the basics of economics to the “English Medium” illiterati amongst us. This is the true cancer that is eating away our country!

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  • MOA
    Apr 8, 2013 - 9:38PM

    ECP is so incompetent. This should have been done a year back when they were ordered to do by the supreme court. Very disappointed !!

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  • Zog
    Apr 8, 2013 - 10:02PM

    @Yasir Mehmood:
    If OSP’s did not remit hard currency back to Pakistan, the PKR would be perhaps near 5000 to the dollar today (who knows?)….their families live in Pakistan, they visit Pakistan regularly and support Pakistan internationally. They should be given the right to vote in Pakistani elections – they are definitely stakeholders…

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  • Kaleem
    Apr 8, 2013 - 10:36PM

    Dont agree that overseas pakistanis are an asset because they send remittance, this actually shows how poor this country is being governed, We are selling our precious skill set for few thousand dollars.

    To all overseas who can come back: Friends, we do not need your money, Please come back and serve pakistan. We need doctors to serve poor patients at reasonable rates, rather than getting some bucks in remittance.

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  • DevilHunterX
    Apr 8, 2013 - 10:54PM

    We need online voting in Pakistan first.

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  • Soufia Siddiqi
    Apr 8, 2013 - 10:55PM

    First of all, this isn’t unexpected of the ECP, but is terribly sad nevertheless. It’s like nobody counts outside of Pakistan, which is why there isn’t enough reason to put heart and soul into making overseas voting possible. Other countries are doing it regularly now, including Afghanistan. Such a shame that institutions of governance in Pakistan still refuse to join modern times.

    Secondly, it’s a crying shame the ECP considers overseas Pakistanis as a separate bunch, that lot that sits elsewhere. Why would you need a law allowing your own citizens to vote?!!

    And finally, I don’t see why foreign remittances should be the reason overseas Pakistanis get to vote. What is this, a commodity transaction? Citizenship is about so much more than just sending home money and by that logic, half the people in Pakistan shouldn’t vote these elections because they’re not paying tax anyway. The reason overseas Pakistanis and other Pakistanis who are abroad (such as for education, medical treatment, marriage, work or other reasons) should be allowed to vote is because representative government is at the core of one’s subscription to citizenship. Those who think Pakistanis with dual nationalities are the worst thing on earth are being pretty unreasonable; those same Pakistanis could have just given up their passports and never looked back. The world is too connected and complicated to draw such hard and fast lines in black and white and that is part of the ECP’s inability to conceive of an electorate beyond Pakistani borders (whatever those are, since the Line of Control, Durand Line and borders along Chaman are being contested all the time).

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  • Yasir Mehmood
    Apr 8, 2013 - 11:05PM

    @all i was referring to dual nationals. Still, setting up polling booths in foreign embassies might create discrepancies since we all know that almost all Pakistani ambassadors get their jobs based on their political linkages.

    @ All dual nationals
    Why you want your strings still attached to Pakistan?. In Britain for example people of Pakistani origin have failed to integrate into British society even after living there for 50 years, why this is so?. As regard to the argument about ‘foreign exchange’ , should we hand out voting rights to any white American who plans to invest his dollars in any business based in Pakistan?.

    @Pakistani American “We participate and take interest in the future and growth of Pakistan and Pakistani’s by choice and not by chance (like several Pakistan’s in Pakistan do).”
    Well that is your assumption not reality. Secondly, your participation and interest would have been more meaningful if you had made a choice of staying here or by giving up your american part and living here like fellow Pakistanis.

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  • Salma
    Apr 8, 2013 - 11:10PM

    If I living in Pakistan can’t vote then how come overseas Pakistanis have the right to vote? – it should be a uniform policy for everyone away from their home constituencies. Postal ballot practice is also sheer discrimination why does ECP allow it? it is s for the “priviliged” army and families, govt and families and prisoners – the students, laborers, other people working in non govt sectors cannot vote despite that they live in Pakistan. Is this Free and Fair?

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  • Sohrab Karboy
    Apr 9, 2013 - 12:47AM

    @John the Baptist: A little harsh, but well said.

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  • imran
    Apr 9, 2013 - 1:09AM

    Looks like ECP is working for PMLN.

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  • khwaja
    Apr 9, 2013 - 1:09AM

    Just confirms my suspicions about this so-called ECP.

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  • awais
    Apr 9, 2013 - 1:20AM

    Playing with out emotions of ” OVERSEAS PAKISTANIS “. Honestly, this is really unfair.

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  • umar s
    Apr 9, 2013 - 2:07AM

    @Usman Lakhani:
    i sure hope u were being sarcastic.

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  • Anwar
    Apr 9, 2013 - 3:28AM

    This is a result of PML-N’s fears showing through. PML-N knows for a fact that the ex-pat community will vote heavily in favor of PTI and thus wants to take that segment of PTI’s vote bank out of the equation. (Clarification: I’m not an Isaafiya, I’m in fact opposed to PTI, but just calling a spade a spade)

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  • suahib
    Apr 16, 2013 - 9:24AM

    please stop this excuse…

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  • waqar
    Apr 21, 2013 - 5:39PM

    ECP should install Ballot boxes NOT ONLY CONSULATES AND EMBASIES even in pakistanis schools in UAE, so every one can ease to excess their rights of VOTE.

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  • fareeha mirza
    May 8, 2013 - 2:55PM

    OSP’s are allowed.
    every one has right to caste vote if he or she iz pakistani.living outside the country doesn’t matter.

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  • JASON
    May 10, 2013 - 5:23AM

    With all the shooting’s and bombings around election time why not approve online voting in the homeland and for expats.

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  • May 10, 2013 - 1:16PM

    vote check

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  • Hassam ishtiaq
    May 10, 2013 - 9:08PM

    If id card lost how to bring vote anyne tell me plz???

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  • Hassam ishtiaq
    May 10, 2013 - 9:10PM

    If id card lost how to bring vote anyone tell me plz???

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