Election experts, government officials and lawmakers yesterday concluded that giving voting right to overseas Pakistanis was practically impossible though lawmakers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) stuck to politics of idealism insisting on giving rights to voters abroad. The sub-committee of Electoral Reforms Committee was informed by officials of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that the mock voting exercise in Pakistani missions abroad went unsuccessful and proposed that participation of Pakistanis living abroad in election will be a futile exercise without any success. The meeting was told that it took two weeks to receive the results of votes polled by 67 voters in seven Pakistani missions during the mock exercise. Voters had cast votes through postal ballots and email. Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid who is also convener of the committee told reporters that Tuesday’s briefing by ECP and Nadra officials was evidence that the project of giving voting rights to overseas Pakistanis was not feasible at all.
He said that electronic voting machines badly failed in the mock exercise due to connectivity problems adding that majority of political parties in the committee did not sound in favour of the project.
But PTI lawmakers insisted that the Pakistani voters abroad could be enabled to take part in election adding the government should ensure that the overseas voters cast votes in elections.
According to Director General IT ECP, Khizar Hayat, the project was so complicated because there was no precedent in the rest of the world to be followed. He said majority of overseas voters were not familiar with internet or electronic voting machines.
Since the committee is supposed to make consensus on electoral reforms, it was proposed that ECP should hire services of technical expert in UNDP so that he could guide as to how millions of people abroad could be educated to cast votes using modern technology.
Full Article: Giving voting right to expats not feasible: Minister.