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ECP secretary to brief Senate panel on RTS failure during July 25 polls

ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad will appear before the Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs on Wednesday (tomorrow) to explain the matter of alleged failure of the Result Transmission System (RTS) on the election night.

The Senate panel, headed by Sassui Palijo of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), will comprise a number of senior parliamentarians from the government and the opposition, including chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior Rehman Malik, chairman of the house committee on law and justice Javed Abbasi, chairman of the house committee on information Faisal Javed, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party Senator Usman Kakar and Moula Bux Chandio of the PPP.

The controversy of RTS failure had put a question mark on the transparency and fairness of the July 25 general elections according to leading political parties and analysts.

The RTS is an android application which enables election officers to send the results to the ECP in real time.

Previously, an official of ECP had told state-run wire service that it is an international practice that any system introduced is practiced before launching but due to shortage of time the Result Transmission System could not be tested.

He said, for the first time an online system to share results from 85,000 polling stations around the country to the central headquarters in Election Commission of Pakistan was introduced.

The failure of Result Transmission System (RTS) on the election day has cost the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Rs 250 million.

During the Election season, Nadra teams had to go to the offices of Returning Officers to activate the RTS software, and according to the ECP, the RTS software was installed in the smartphones of all Presiding Officers (PO) who were able to transmit Form 45 (containing tabulated results of the polling station) via their phone to the ECP on election day.

The ECP secretary testimony before the Senate body is taking place at a time when the government and opposition parties are at the loggerheads to give the coveted chairmanship of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to their own candidates.

According to reports, the government has finalised the name of Syed Fakhr Imam, a seasoned politician and former speaker of the National Assembly, as head of the PAC. Syed Fakhar Imam had previously also served as federal minister and leader of the opposition.

The opposition made it clear that it won’t nominate members to the standing committees of National Assembly, if it was deprived of its right to head the Public Accounts Committee.

According to parliamentary tradition set during last two political governments, the Leader of the Opposition allowed to head the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament.

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