Time constraint key hurdle to overseas vote: ECP

Published: April 11, 2013
Email
According to the ECP Secretary, it was the wish of the commission, Supreme Court and others that overseas Pakistanis be able to vote, but there are some procedural issues that need to be resolved. PHOTO: EXPRESS

According to the ECP Secretary, it was the wish of the commission, Supreme Court and others that overseas Pakistanis be able to vote, but there are some procedural issues that need to be resolved. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: 

The Election Commission of Pakistan pointed out multiple hurdles in providing the facility of vote to overseas Pakistanis in the upcoming general elections on Wednesday. 

After the ECP’s meeting on providing voting facilities to overseas Pakistanis, the commission’s Secretary Ishtiak Ahmad Khan briefed the media that there would be difficulties in providing this facility in time for the elections on May 11. Khan added that the time constraint was a major hurdle in providing overseas Pakistanis the opportunity to vote.

According to the ECP Secretary, it was the wish of the commission, Supreme Court and others that overseas Pakistanis be able to vote, but there are some procedural issues that need to be resolved. He added that NADRA had created the software for e-voting which would be presented in the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Earlier this week, the ECP took an unexpected turn when it opposed an online voting system for overseas Pakistanis, terming it “expensive, time-consuming, and impractical”. In its report submitted to the Supreme Court this week, the ECP contended that facilitating eligible overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in the upcoming general elections was not advisable.

The report emphasised that any decision taken in haste has the potential to create unforeseen problems and seriously damage the credibility of the upcoming elections, both within the country and abroad.

Quoting the unanimous decision of a committee comprising officials from ECP, NADRA and the IT ministry, the commission stated that allowing overseas Pakistanis to vote through an uncertified computer system could be “disastrous” for the electoral process.

The Supreme Court had earlier directed the secretaries of law and justice, information technology, foreign affairs, the ministry of overseas Pakistanis and the ECP, as well as the chairman NADRA to undertake coordinated efforts for devising a mechanism which would enable overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in the coming polls.

A representative of the ECP told The Express Tribune that NADRA’s software was imperfect, “If we exercise this option then as per the ‘one minute one vote’ facility only 6,000 overseas Pakistanis will be able to cast their vote,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2013.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (12)

  • Neutral
    Apr 11, 2013 - 10:26AM

    They will definitely try their level best not to give voting right to oversees Pakistani. In the hindsight they know that it will largely affect the election result in favor of PTI. Approx 90% of oversees Pakistani support PTI and same percentage is ready to cast vote in the coming election. The oversees employees know the value of their vote.

    Recommend

  • Abeer
    Apr 11, 2013 - 10:53AM

    How about overseas voters send their votes via post?

    Recommend

  • Basit
    Apr 11, 2013 - 11:27AM

    Only one party will benefit i.e. PTI

    Recommend

  • Ehsan karim
    Apr 11, 2013 - 11:41AM

    Pakistani software companies builds softwares for almost whole world and they cannot build an application for e- voting ??
    Simply say that you are not willing to allow them to cast vote.

    Recommend

  • Ehsan karim
    Apr 11, 2013 - 11:49AM

    Take data of oversees pakistanis from NADRA and upload it in e-voting system’s database one time.
    e-voting system will use its local data it is not required that every time it query NADRA’s database. so question of 1 vote / minute is ruled out. I am deadly sure that secure web applications can be made easily in pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Ehsan karim
    Apr 11, 2013 - 1:10PM

    Why are you not posting my comment ? Are you with ECP in favor of not giving e-voting facility ??

    Recommend

  • Shroff
    Apr 11, 2013 - 1:34PM

    Over seas Pakistanis comprise an educated and independent sect among the voters . If they cant vote who is going to vote?? the same who have been voting in the past. What a mockery . We do not want the same tried and tested people again as we all know how they ruled and what they did in their days of power.

    Every Over seas Pakistani has a NICOP card. Install a big server so it does not go down due to voting load. Make him/ her go on the internet let him/ her set their password and secret question answer. . On election day he / she logs in with his password , secret question and NICOP number. casts his vote . Finish.

    Keep the voting results real time processing , so every body knows who is winning . nothing hidden. Keep the top I.T geeks busy monitoring the online voting so as to prevent chances of hacking.

    After all how difficult is it to set up and secure an https;// protocol !

    Lets all vote for a better Pakistan.
    Pakistan Zindabad.

    Recommend

  • Usman Javaid
    Apr 11, 2013 - 3:07PM

    If the overseas Pakistanis are so much interested in casting votes, why dont you go to Pakistan for a week, cast your vote and then back to where you are. Im sure that for the future of your country you guys a willing to make a small sacrifice like this. Instead of asking for Evoting messieurs Shroff, ehsan karim and neutral should book a flight. Evoting is not as easy as it looks cause honestly, Pakistan does not has the resources despite what you think. The only political party who would benefit from this according to some is PTI. So instead of putting their eggs in one basket, they should try a different approach. Just because you guys send remittances doesnt means that you can try to dictate.

    Recommend

  • John the Baptist
    Apr 11, 2013 - 4:22PM

    @Usman Javaid:

    Just because you guys send remittances doesnt means that you can try to dictate.

    Just because you guys live in Pakistan, don’t pay any taxes and live off of our remittances does not mean you should dictate!

    Recommend

  • Neutral
    Apr 11, 2013 - 6:04PM

    @ USMAN JAVED
    Thanks for showing us the way, we never claim that we belonng to high strata, luckily we got the chance to work overseas, this is all.Further I and my friend around has a plan to comre Pakistan in case voting right is not given. And the saving of ticket will be contributed for charity.MY dear friend everyone doesnot have the capacity and time tovisit Pakistan. Hope u understand our point, no hard feeling

    Recommend

  • MG
    Apr 11, 2013 - 6:40PM

    The very fact that ECP is debating giving Pakistani citizens (abroad) the right to vote or not, is undemocratic, unlawful and unconstitutional. Or at least it would be if we were indeed a real democracy. This unabashed and public squashing of a fundamental democratic process is ridiculous and shameful, to say the least. To downgrade fundamental rights because of perceived “costs” and the “unknown issues” that may arise is insulting. (Even thought the cost would not be high at all) using cost as an excuse stinks of pre-election rigging.

    As for the perception that only PTI would benefit if overseas Pakistanis are allowed to vote – welcome to democracy. It is not about our individual likes and dislikes or desires – it’s about the will of the people. If PTI is the only party that benefits (highly unlikely) – then accept it as what it is.

    Recommend

  • Usman Javaid
    Apr 11, 2013 - 11:04PM

    What the ECP can do instead of evoting or ballot papers sent abroad, is proxy voting like it happens in UK. This can work for the expats without too much difficulty. I dont know the finer details but its much more easier than the other 2 options considered.

    Recommend

More in Pakistan