ISLAMABAD: More than 51.8 million citizens used what is believed to be the world’s largest voter verification SMS service to check their voting formation ahead of the May 11 polls. Incidentally, the total number of votes polled stood at 48 million approximately – less than the number of people who availed the service.
The Election Commission, in collaboration with the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) and telecom companies, launched the service to facilitate over 86 million registered voters. The service provided voters complete information regarding the location of polling stations upon sending their computerised national identity card (CNIC) number on 8300.
Some 39.5 million male and 12.3 million female voters sought their voting details through the SMS service.
A whopping 29.2 million voters between the ages of 18 and 35-years-old used the service, according to details provided by NADRA. Over 10.4 million people belonged to the 36 to 46-year-old age bracket, 6.7 million from 46 to 56-years old, 4 million voters from the 56 to 66 age bracket and 1.5 million from the age of 66 and above.
Some 28.8 million voters hailed from urban areas and 23 million voters from rural areas.
NADRA Chairman Tariq Malik believes this technology gave a facelift to the electoral system. “It is the victory of technology which increased people’s trust in NADRA.” he told The Express Tribune.
Meanwhile, an ECP official told The Express Tribune that telecom companies with coordination of ECP and NADRA generated multi-million rupee revenues for each stakeholder. The service charges were fixed at two rupees per message of which 60 paisa each were given to telecom companies, ECP and NADRA and the remaining 20 paisa were given to the government in taxes, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2013.