Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Govt asked to provide time frame for developing secure i-voting system

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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has asked the federal government to provide a time frame for the development of a foolproof i-voting system for overseas Pakistanis, ARY News reported on Wednesday.

The election commission sought a time frame from the secretary of parliamentary affairs, interior and the chairman of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) regarding the preparation of the i-voting that is free from risks of global hacking.

In its letter, the commission also highlighted that flaws were spotted in the i-voting system during the third-party audit for which the use of the system was not recommended.

READ: NA PASSES ELECTION ACT AMENDMENT BILL, GRANTS VOTING RIGHT TO OVERSEAS PAKISTANIS

In May, President Arif Alvi had promulgated Election (Second Amendment) Ordinance 2021, allowing voting rights to overseas Pakistanis and the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) during the election process.

According to the ordinance issued by the president, changes were made to section 94 (1) and section 103 of the Election Act 2017.

The amendments will help in ensuring that overseas Pakistanis vote during the next general election.

Furthermore, the ECP would also be bound to purchase electronic voting machines (EVMs) ahead of the general election as amendments were made in sections pertaining to the use of biometric machines for a pilot project.

READ: FED GOVT, ECP SIT FOR SECOND ROUND OF TALKS ON EVMS, INTERNET VOTING

On May 4, the federal cabinet had approved two ordinances regarding the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voting rights for overseas Pakistanis.

Sharing details regarding decisions taken during the cabinet meeting headed by PM Imran Khan in a presser, Fawad Chaudhry had said that through an ordinance the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has been authorized to use EVM.

“Another ordinance has given the ECP authority regarding voting rights for the overseas Pakistanis,” the information minister had said while lamenting that certain people do not know the powers rested with the Parliament.

READ: EVM ONLY OPTION TO STOP RIGGING, ENSURE TRANSPARENCY IN POLLS: PM

He had said that the government has fulfilled its responsibility regarding legislation on the matter. “Technological work is to be done on biometric and e-voting,” he said adding that they have appointed a consultant to finalize recommendations in this regard.

Voting through internet

Earlier in May last year, the federal government had stepped forward for providing voting rights to overseas Pakistanis during elections and decided to allow the nationals to participate in the polling process by voting through the internet.

READ: PRELIMINARY MODEL OF EVM DISPLAYED AT PARLIAMENT HOUSE

The federal government had decided to give internet-voting (i-voting) rights to the nationals living in foreign countries besides giving approval to the bio-metric and i-voting procedures after reviewing its practical demonstration.

It had been decided to take further steps of initiating a debate on internet-voting rights to overseas Pakistanis based on ECP reports in the Parliament.

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