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FIA initiates probe to trace caller who ordered shutdown of RTS

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Thursday began investigating an audio clip of a peculiar phone call that directed the closure of Result Transmission System (RTS) on the night of July 25 polls.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) requested the FIA to probe the matter after which the agency initiated its inquiry.

The electoral body had written a letter to director general FIA to investigate and identify the caller who had directed to shutdown the RTS. The commission had also sent the audio clip to the investigation agency, asking to conduct a forensic test of the clip.

In the audio, a man can be heard telling presiding officers that ‚Äúthere is a major issue with the RTS and using it is not a mandatory option for us.”

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.

On the night of July 25 polls, the system had reportedly stopped working all of a sudden causing a delay in the transmission of results of General Election 2018.

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

What is RTS?

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.

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.

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