Pakistan: Online voting experiment for citizens abroad fails | International Business Times

In August this year, the Election Commission of Pakistan had announced its intentions to allow overseas expats to vote in the country’s general elections in 2018, as long as they held their citizenship. Keeping with the plan, a mock exercise was conducted to evaluate security, among other things. The Pakistani embassy in Riyadh, the High Commission in London and its consulates in New York, Dubai, Manchester, Bradford and Glasgow carried out the test. Employees at the foreign missions were asked to participate in the exercise, by voting for fictitious candidates, via two means — postal and online ballots.

Pakistan: Electronic voting in next general polls | The Nation

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday unveiled its plan for next general elections in 2018 promising to introduce biometric voting machines, but rubbished the rigging allegations in last year’s polls. ECP Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan during a news conference held here at the commission’s office said foreign observers and independent election monitoring bodies had expressed satisfaction with election process in country held in May 2013. “Let me make it very clear that anybody who has doubt about rigging in elections, should wait for the Election Tribunals to come up with final judgments,” the secretary told newsmen in apparently pointing to Imran Khan, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) chief, who has been lambasting the election results.

Pakistan: Nadra develops electronic voting machine | The Nation (pk)

In the wake of ongoing thumb print verification controversy, National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has taken proactive initiative by developing electronic voting machine (EVM) solution proposed to be placed on all polling stations across the country. The Nadra claims that the system aims at ensuring transparency and rigging-free elections because each voter will be able to cast only one vote. An official press release issued by the authority says that electronic thumb verification of each voter shall be done at the respective polling station before casting the vote without the use of magnetized ink. The new EVM solution will incur only 40 per cent of total cost of magnetized ink that amounts to Rs 2.5 billion.

Pakistan: Journalists deprived of voting rights | Pakistan News

Over 2,000 journalists working in Islamabad and Rawalpindi will not be able to vote because of duties on May 11. The journalists have demanded that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) devise a swift strategy to facilitate them to vote in their respective constituencies. Many journalists will be on duty on May 11 to report news promptly. Unfortunately the ECP has no system to ensure that journalists can exercise their voting rights.

Pakistan: Nadra awaits nod, funds for organising polling abroad | Dawn.com

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.

Pakistan: Election Commission, ministry mull e-voting for overseas Pakistanis | Dawn.com

Top officials of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the law ministry held a meeting on Tuesday to review e-voting facility for overseas Pakistanis for May 11 polls for which the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has developed a software. A source told Dawn that those attending the meeting had already reached the conclusion that overseas Pakistanis should not be allowed to cast their vote this year due to what they called ‘incomplete’ arrangements and some legal and diplomatic constraints. The meeting was also attended by Attorney General Irfan Qadir. “It has been decided that another round of talks on the e-voting will be held on Wednesday. It will also be attended by representatives of Finance Ministry, Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis, Foreign Office, Ministry of Information Technology and Nadra,” a senior official of the law ministry said.

Pakistan: ‘Prohibitively expensive’: Election Commission opposes online vote for expatriates | The Express Tribune

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) took an unexpected U-turn when it opposed an online voting system for overseas Pakistanis, terming it expensive, time-consuming, and impracticable. In its report submitted to the Supreme Court on Monday, the ECP contended that facilitating eligible overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in the upcoming general elections was not advisable.
Quoting the unanimous decision of a committee comprising officials from ECP, NADRA and IT ministry, the commission stated that allowing overseas Pakistanis to vote through an uncertified computer system could be disastrous for the electoral process. The Supreme Court had earlier directed the secretaries of law and justice, information technology, foreign affairs, ministry of oversees Pakistanis and the ECP, as well as the chairman NADRA to undertake coordinated efforts for devising a mechanism which would enable overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in the coming polls.

Pakistan: Nadra develops $1.5m software for voters abroad | Dawn.com

In compliance with an order of the Supreme Court, the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has devised a software to help 4.5 million overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in the coming general elections. The $1.5 million software will help overseas Pakistanis in 15 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, Saudi Arabia, UAE, France and Australia, to vote at 150 polling stations. However, approval of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be required to prepare required legislation. Nadra chairman Tariq Malik said at a news conference that a detailed briefing would be given to ECP on the software on Monday and if the ECP approved it, a briefing would be arranged for the Supreme Court.

Pakistan: Authorities in a fix over overseas voters | The Express Tribune

The Supreme Court’s insistence on enabling overseas Pakistanis to vote in the May 11 general elections has placed the relevant authorities in a fix. Severely castigated by the court for their inability to devise a workable mechanism, the authorities, including the Election Commission of Pakistan, have deliberated several options but found them all to be flawed. Talking to The Express Tribune, sources in the ECP and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) said that none of the proposed mechanisms had been tested and even a minor error could sabotage the entire electoral exercise. … In their report submitted before the SC, NADRA’s IT experts said exercising the internet option would compromise electoral rolls severely due to risks, such as hacking, which could not be mitigated within the short time given for polls. In addition to this, they maintained internet voting could not reliably confirm voters’ identities and would also compromise their privacy. “Such confirmation can only be ensured through biometric verification… in its absence the possibility of casting votes against someone else’s identity cannot be ruled out,” the experts added.

Pakistan: Election Commission appoints caretaker Prime Minister | The Hindu

Mir Hazar Khan Khosa, an 84-year-old retired judge, will be Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister till a new National Assembly is elected by mid-May. His name was finalised on Sunday morning by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) after the political class failed to arrive on a consensus over caretaker premiership. The announcement was made around noon by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim after the matter was put to vote. Mr. Khosa’s candidature was suggested by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and its allies. And, he was voted in four-to-one by the five-member ECP.

Pakistan: Election Commission says e-voting not feasible now for overseas Pakistanis | Dawn.com

The Election Commission of Pakistan and the government appeared to be poles apart in the Supreme Court on Tuesday on the issue of extending the facility of electronic voting to Pakistanis living abroad. While the court wishes to see the facility extended to overseas Pakistanis to enable them to cast their votes in the coming elections, the ECP insists that the electronic voting is not a feasible option at the moment. Although the Ministry of Information Technology says the task is achievable with the help of sophisticated software, it agrees that it is not feasible in the coming elections. During the hearing of a case relating to the grant of voting rights to Pakistanis living abroad, Director General of Elections Sher Afgan said a meeting held in the ECP on Monday had concluded that in the absence of a proper legislation the facility could not be extended at the moment. But he added that a team had been set up under him to develop a mechanism and procedures.

Pakistan: Crafting an e-voting system may take a year, says AG | The Express Tribune

Pakistani voters living abroad would not be able to cast ballots in the upcoming elections, as it would take almost a year to develop an e-voting system for the country, Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir informed the Supreme Court on Tuesday. “Though the ministry of information technology has expertise to bring in the e-voting system, it needs time to develop different softwares and anti-hacking firewalls and legislation to make it workable,” said Qadir . A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed was hearing two identical petitions seeking right to suffrage for overseas Pakistanis.

Pakistan: No legislation required for overseas Pakistanis’ voting rights | Dawn.com

A three-member Supreme Court bench on Friday observed that without the participation of eligible overseas Pakistani voters, elections could not be called fair and transparent. The bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, was hearing a petition filed by PTI chief Imran Khan seeking voting rights for Pakistanis living abroad. The bench noted that participation of overseas Pakistanis in the upcoming general elections was possible given right steps are taken by concerned authorities.

Pakistan: Election commission approves electoral reforms draft | Dawn.com

The Election Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday approved a draft of electoral reforms for effective legislation to curb rigging in the upcoming general elections and ensure transparency and credibility of the polls. The commission at its meeting approved to enhance monetary penalty for illegal and corrupt practices side by side enhancing the nomination fee for the candidates of National and Provincial Assemblies. “Draft reforms package will be sent to the Law division for proper legislation,” DG Elections Sher Afghan informed media representatives at a news conference. He said the commission also approved registration of 11 new political parties while elections symbols were allotted to 16 already registered parties including the party of renowned nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Pakistan: What is an error-free voters’ list? | Naeem Sadiq

Pakistan is rapidly heading for another electoral disaster. It continues to retain its archaic and unnecessary electoral list-making process that can do no better than what it did last time. While it ended up manufacturing 37 million fake voters in 2008, the results will not be much different this time around. There are at least four types of flaws that call for immediate attention. Based on the 1998 census, Pakistan’s current population should be around 190 million people. Fifty-one percent of our population is above 18 years. This means there are 97 million Pakistanis who are eligible to vote. The voters’ list released by the Election Commission of Pakistan shows only 84.4 million voters. It simply means that there are 12.6 million eligible voters who are not included in the current voters’ list. Organisations such as the Free and Fair Elections Network consider the gap to be much higher.

Pakistan: Free, fair, transparent elections: ECP to receive 10 million euro from EU, National Assembly told | Business Recorder

The Election Commission of Pakistan is likely to receive 10 million Euro from the European Union for holding free, fair and transparent elections. In a written reply to a question, Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs and Statistics, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheik, told the Lower House on Monday that the total amount was 10 million Euro to be provided by the EU to Pakistan for transparent general elections. The proposed utilisation of the said amount is to assist Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and increase awareness regarding electoral laws.

Pakistan: Overseas Pakistani’s will not vote in Next Elections | Sana News

The Election Commission of Pakistan has decided that 4 million overseas Pakistani’s will not be able to exercise their right to vote from their country of residence; meanwhile election commission has said that overseas Pakistanis could use right of vote after returning to Pakistan. It was also decided during the meeting, that voting will take place again, at polling stations reserved for women, where voter turn out is less than 10 percent.

Pakistan: Pakistan election commission issues new, tougher rules | The Express Tribune

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), largely considered toothless in the past, may be baring a new set of sharp dentures. The commission on Wednesday issued an amended code of conduct for election campaigns, for an interim period, prescribing punishments that could ultimately lead to disqualification of violators. The new code of conduct, formulated on the directives of a Supreme Court decision earlier this month, will be a test case for the ECP in the by-polls in NA-151, vacated due to the disqualification of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. Polling for the seat will be held on July 19.

Pakistan: Pakistan election commission issues new, tougher rules | The Express Tribune

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), largely considered toothless in the past, may be baring a new set of sharp dentures. The commission on Wednesday issued an amended code of conduct for election campaigns, for an interim period, prescribing punishments that could ultimately lead to disqualification of violators. The new code of conduct, formulated on the directives of a Supreme Court decision earlier this month, will be a test case for the ECP in the by-polls in NA-151, vacated due to the disqualification of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. Polling for the seat will be held on July 19.

Pakistan: Pakistan seeks to emulate India’s electronic voting system | Dawn.com

Impressed by India’s successful use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in its elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is seeking to emulate the system in the upcoming general elections. The third meeting of the poll management bodies of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was held at the Indian capital, where “India showcased its use of modern technology for strengthening democracy and election management systems,” a report in Indian daily The Hindu said. Following a presentation on the use of technology in polls, an ECP member admitted an interest in the Indian mechanism.

Pakistan: Increasing voter pool: ECP grants overseas Pakistanis voting rights | The Express Tribune

Voting rights were finally granted by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to 3.7 million overseas Pakistanis on Tuesday. “The decision will pave the way for overseas Pakistanis to actively take part in national politics,” observed ECP Secretary Ishtiak Ahmed Khan. The move was immediately praised by parties across the political spectrum. Overseas Pakistanis Minister Farooq Sattar said, “This decision will enable them to become a part of Parliament, as they are sending over $11 billion in remittances (to Pakistan) per annum”. They should also be given representation on reserved seats in the national and provincial assemblies, he added. “The ECP’s move is a historic step for strengthening democracy by involving more and more people in electoral process,” observed Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Mushahidullah Khan.

Editorials: Verifying Pakistan’s voter lists | Dawn.com

The Election Commission of Pakistan was given the task to remove the 37 million bogus voters from the list (Dec 16) and replace them with new ones eligible to vote. The Supreme Court observed that the preparing of voter list can be delegated to National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) if the Election Commission is not able to complete the task.

Nadra has the record of all eligible voters and is also responsible for issuing the National Identity Card. It is better equipped to prepare the voter list. The Election Commission’s prime responsibility should be to ensure transparent, free and fair election, it should consider making voting compulsory and improving the system of vote casting at polling stations.

Pakistan: 2013 preparations? Election commission secretary gets two-year extension | The Express Tribune

The government has given a two-year extension to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) secretary in order to ensure that the next election due in early 2013 is held under the incumbent set-up. The extension has been given to ECP Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan, who reached the age of superannuation (retirement) on November 5, to ‘ensure continuity’ of the reforms process initiated by him. This was the justification for the extension given in the notification issued on the directives of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. An official of the establishment division told The Express Tribune that the notification was issued a few days back, without mentioning the exact date. The official who requested anonymity could not explain why the notification was not made public. Khan, when contacted, confirmed the extension. This is one of the most high-profile extensions given by the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government after Chief of Army Staff Gen. Parvez Kayani and Director-General Inter-Services Intelligence Shuja Pasha.

Pakistan: EC urged to impose system of proportional representation | Pakistan Observer

The advisor to the Ex-CM Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on political affairs, Sikandar Aziz Khan has suggested to the Election Commission of Pakistan to immediately impose the system of proportional representation for the larger interest of the country and the people as in this system votes will be cast in support of the political parties and not candidates that will result in enhancement of the percentage of cast votes.

Addressing a press conference in the press club on Thursday, Sikandar Aziz Khan advised the Election Commission of Pakistan to make immediate amendments in the law in this connection and adopt the system in which the seats in the national and provincial assemblies would be allotted to the political parties according to the percentage of received votes. He said the existing system had created a lot of defects in the ruling party and majority of the people were reluctant to cast their votes. He said from the existing system it was clear that those rich candidates were being brought to power who had spent huge funds on the elections and after wining the polls use every underhand method to get the money back.

Pakistan: Kashmiris will retain dual vote right: AJK official | thenews.com.pk

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has agreed in principle with the AJK authorities to retain the right of dual vote for Kashmiris settled in the four provinces and Islamabad. “Yes, they have approved retention while accepting our arguments for the dual votes of AJK people who are living in Pakistan,” confirmed AJK election commission Secretary Muhammad Younas.

Talking to The News on Sunday, he said the ECP with its chief election commissioner (CEC) would give a formal nod to reject the pending proposals and continue the recognition of AJK people in exercising their right to vote. The CEC, Justice (Retd) Hamid Ali Mirza, and ECP members, full commission, would meet tomorrow (Tuesday) to dispose of the applications. They would discuss different aspects i.e. legalities, input from AJK authorities and Right of Citizenship Act. “The ECP secretary conveyed me the willingness of the ECP that the Kashmiris’ right of dual vote, one in AJK and second in Pakistan, would be maintained in accordance with previous arrangements,” Younas said. To a question, he described it an achievement under which the Kashmiris’ right of two votes would not be snatched.

Pakistan: Election Commission of Pakistan excludes 37.1 million suspected votes from electoral rolls | South Asian News Agency

Election Commission of Pakistan excluded 37.1 million suspected voters from the electoral rolls and the new electoral roll is composed of more than 87.2 million voters. The Secretary ECP Ishtiak Ahmad Khan issued details from headquarter of Election Commission of Pakistan on Saturday.

Ishtiak Ahmad Khan said the ECP handed over its database of Electoral Rolls-2007 to NADRA on 11th February 2011 for verification of voters against their database. NADRA reported back on 05/03/2011 that out of 81 Million voters registered in Final Electoral Rolls 2007, 44 Million voters were verified against CNIC database whereas approximately 37 Million voters were not verified which was made public by the ECP through a press release dated 8th March 2011.

After deletion of these 37 million unverified voters from the Draft Electoral Rolls, 2011, NADRA added 36 million who had obtained CNIC after preparation of Electoral Rolls-2007. NADRA can provide evidence from its database with regard to 37 Million unverified voters as well as 36 Million voters who have been added into the Draft Electoral Rolls, 2011.

Pakistan: Voter fraud: 65% of votes in Balochistan were bogus | The Express Tribune

Balochistan had the highest rate of fake voters during the 2008 general election, according to findings from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).

A glance at statistics from the province do not reflect well on the electoral process. In Killa Abdullah there were total of 387,823 registered voters and only 70,820 could be verified. In Kech, of the 218,953 registered voters only 84,500 were legitimate. In Loralai there were 226,658 registered voters, of which a meagre 52,657 could be verified. Of Jaffarbabad’s 391,608 registered voters, only 98,919 were not bogus.

The legitimacy of our current government has been severely questioned by recent findings that almost half of the entries in voter lists at the last election were fake. The startling facts emerged as the ECP and NADRA were preparing new voter lists based on computerised national identity cards(CNICs). Discrepancies emerged between the electoral rolls used for last general election and succeeding by-polls held so far.

Pakistan: Secretary Election Commission calls on PM, briefs on computerized electoral rolls | Associated Press Of Pakistan

Secretary Election Commission Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan called on Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani here on Tuesday and apprised him of the preparation of reforms being undertaken by the Commission to ensure fair, transparent and credible elections in the country. The Secretary informed the Prime Minister about Election Commission of Pakistan’s Strategic Plan 2010-14 which has been prepared in consultation with all the stakeholders including all political parties, civil society and media.

He informed the Prime Minister that the Computerized Electoral Rolls are being prepared in collaboration with NADRA and current door to door verification throughout Pakistan is underway until September 2011, and that final Computerized Electoral Rolls will be ready by April 2012. Secretary Election Commission thanked the Prime Minister for extending full support to make Election Commission of Pakistan an autonomous.