News & Politics Pakistan

$1.5 Million Software Developed By NADRA for Overseas Voters

(Last Updated On: 02/04/2013)

In order to comply with the orders of Supreme Court of Pakistan, National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has developed software which will facilitate around 4.5 million Pakistani voters abroad to cast their vote in coming general elections 2013. The software worth $1.5 million intends to facilitate abroad Pakistani nationals in 15 countries. These countries include France, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Australia. The estimated number of polling stations in these countries is 150. Although the software is developed but to prepare the required legislation and mechanism to conduct the polling, approval of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and cooperation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is required.
Chairman NADRA, Tariq Malik in a news conference, said that Election Commission of Pakistan will be given a detailed briefing regarding this software and if the software is approved by Election Commission, next step would be to give a briefing to the Supreme Court. He further pointed out the fact that approximately 70% of overseas Pakistanis live in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. In these countries there is a ban on rallies and gatherings especially if associated to politics. He stressed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would have to communicate to the relevant authorities in these countries in order to get permission and facilities to conduct the polling process smoothly. He urged the concerned authorities to get the permission from these countries by 5th of April 2013 and also the permission for NADRA officers to fly to these countries. He said that in order to establish the polling stations and arrange computers, printers, thumb digitiser and internet connections ample time is required and these are the primary requirements of each polling station.

The overseas Pakistanis would be facilitated to e-vote through embassies. Biometric system will also be made available in order to avoid bogus vote casting. Voters will have to visit the polling station on the polling day. Machine readable passports and National Identity Cards are pre-requisites for e-voting. Process will be simple and the identity of voter will not be recorded as the ECP database records the vote.
As the polling session completes, ECP will have electronic results available in their database. ECP will print the constituency-wise aggregated results. These results will then be sent via fax to the returning officers who will include these results in preliminary results. Chairman NADRA further commented that the software is safe but since it has never been used, so the suggestion would be to hold polling via this software two or three days earlier than the original elections that would take place in Pakistan.

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