A source said Nadra chief Tariq Malik had written letters to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis to inform them that his organisation was ready to deploy e-voting facility for overseas Pakistanis. “There is no denying the fact that deployment and installation of e-voting software in host countries is an uphill task and Nadra needs an immediate official nod, including funds amounting to $1.5 million,” said the Nadra official. Any inordinate delay would result in the disenfranchisement of 4.5m Pakistanis living abroad who could otherwise take part in the general election, he added. Under the directives of Supreme Court (SC), Nadra developed a software within the given deadline for overseas registered voters to exercise their right to franchise. A demonstration was also made which was three-member bench of the SC headed by the chief justice.
The bench directed the Election Commission of Pakistan and the ministries of foreign affairs, law and overseas Pakistanis to take mandatory steps for the implementation of e-voting plan by April 20.
The first step is the requirement of legislation for which the Election Commission of Pakistan is supposed to prepare a draft for issuance of an ordinance. The second step involves making arrangements at foreign missions so that overseas voters may get themselves registered at first instance and cast votes on the polling day.
The third step involves taking permission from countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates where political assembly is not allowed. The fourth step involves expediting the visa process for officers and polling staff visiting the countries where polling stations would be established.
Nadra has recommended 10 countries — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Oman, Greece, United States of America, Kuwait, Canada, Bahrain, Qatar — for deployment of e-voting facility.