In most countries, politicians who warned that aliens were trying to influence an upcoming general election would likely find themselves ridiculed by the media and shunned at the ballot box. In Pakistan, where cryptic references to “invisible hands” wielded by “the boys” have long been part of the political lexicon, such talk is a staple of the campaign trail. Ahead of the July 25 vote, ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has cautioned that “aliens” (Pakistan’s military) will attempt to prevent his party from winning another five-year term. Others whisper about the role the country’s feared “angels” (intelligence services) might play. The colorful terminology is partly a reflection of Pakistan’s rich linguistic heritage, peppered with English terms such as “blue-eyed boy” (one favored by those in power) and “red lines” (forbidden subjects).
Articles about voting issues in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Pakistan: Impossible to incorporate electronic voting in 2018 elections, observes Supreme Court | The Express Tribune
The Supreme Court observed on Thursday that it is impossible to incorporate an electronic voting system for the upcoming general elections in the country. The bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, resumed hearing of a petition filed in 2012 by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan which sought removal of alleged bogus votes from the voter lists issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
The surfacing in March of Cambridge Analytica’s social media breaches, with a whistleblower claiming that that over 50 million Facebook profiles were used to manipulate polls including the 2016 U.S. elections, meant that similar concerns have shrouded upcoming elections elsewhere this year. Among these are the general elections in Pakistan, scheduled to be held this summer. On April 6, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced two steps that would be introduced to address these apprehensions. “From now on, every advertiser who wants to run political or issue ads will need to be verified. To get verified, advertisers will need to confirm their identity and location,” he wrote on Facebook. “Second, we will also require people who manage large pages to be verified as well. This will make it much harder for people to run pages using fake accounts, or to grow virally and spread misinformation or divisive content that way.”
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has formed a committee to conduct a technical audit of the Internet voting solution process that was proposed by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra). The task force formed on the directions of the Supreme Court is mandated to assess the technical soundness of the web-based automated system that has been designed to help overseas Pakistanis vote through the Internet. Only expatriates who have been issued national identity cards for overseas Pakistanis and valid machine-readable passports will be eligible to use the system to cast their votes.
Pakistan: In a first, watermarked ballot papers to be used in 2018 general elections | The Express Tribune
The ballot papers in the upcoming general elections will bear a watermark on them which is unprecedented in Pakistan’s electoral history, Express News reported. According to reports, preparations for the general elections are in full swing with ballot papers to be used for voting to have an exclusive watermark for which paper is being purchased from France. The special paper will be provided in June 2018 after which the printing process shall begin.
Supreme Court of Pakistan recently called a briefing where National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) presented the online voting system for overseas Pakistanis. Chief Justice Saqib Nisar led a three-member bench to resume the hearing of a case referring to the voting rights of overseas Pakistanis. The hearing was attended by the officials of Election Commission of Pakistan, parliamentarians, representatives of political parties and faculty experts from reputable universities of Pakistan. … The online system has been integrated with the web portals of ECP and NADRA. To cast a vote, an overseas Pakistani who wishes to use the system must have a National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP), a machine-readable passport and a valid email address to register on the website. The eligibility of the voter will be verified by the 13-digit NICOP number, its issuance date, tracking number and passport number of the machine-readable passport. After the validation of eligibility, the identity of the voter will be confirmed if they answer two verification questions asked by the system.
IT experts on Thursday raised objections over an e-voting software prepared by National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to enable overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in the forthcoming elections. A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, Thursday resumed hearing of a case pertaining to voting rights to overseas Pakistanis. During the hearing, the NADRA chairman briefed the SC bench, officials of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and representatives of different political parties on the e-voting system. The official said that providing e-voting facility to around 7 million overseas Pakistanis would cost Rs150 million.
The Overseas Pakistani Foundation (OPF) has asked for a five-seat representation in each of the houses in Pakistan’s parliament before the upcoming general elections so that eight million Pakistanis all over the world, including in the UAE, can exercise their right to vote. Barrister Amjad Malik, chairman of board of governors (BoG) of Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF), who is currently visiting the UAE, while talking to the media and members of the community, said that the proposal had been made to the prime minister of Pakistan three months ago.
“We have all the necessary and good laws in Pakistan, but we fail to implement them!” This is a common lamentation in Pakistan. Whatever the subject is — politicians, civil society, lawyers, journalists and governmental officials make this claim. But is this true? In one area that has attracted much public controversy, this was not the case: The election laws lacked many provisions needed for credible, transparent and inclusive elections. The controversies in the 2013 elections were not simply ‘losers crying sour grapes’. Genuine shortcomings in the election laws, which undermined Pakistani elections for many years were repeatedly pointed out by civil society, observers and eventually also confirmed in the inquiry commission setup to investigate the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) accusations of systemic rigging in 2013 general elections. The Commission found no systematic rigging but pointed to many systemic problems.
National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) Chairman Usman Mobin is set to apprise the Supreme Court on Monday of “non-technical challenges” and the minimum time required to develop an integrated internet voting system to enable overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in the upcoming general elections. During the last hearing of the petitions seeking the right of vote for overseas Pakistanis, the Nadra chairman had tried to make a presentation before a SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, on the internet voting system, but at the outset he was intercepted by the chief justice when he sought a five-month time for developing the system. … Nadra spokesman Faik Ali, when contacted, said that after the court’s directive a Nadra team headed by the chairman held meetings with the ECP officials to discuss modalities, time frame and non-technical challenges related to the mechanism. He said the Nadra chairman would apprise the Supreme Court of the outcome of these meetings on Monday.