ISLAMABAD: ‘Right to vote’ for some seven million Pakistani expatriates remains a dream as government fails to lay Internet Voting Pilot Project Report in the parliament.
It is shocking to learn that a staunch advocate of using technology for easing up the electoral process in the country, ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has virtually turned a blind eye to the cause.
Well-placed sources at country’s election policing organization, Election Commission of Pakistan, believe that lethargy of political elite is expected to squeeze up the voting right of some seven million Pakistani expatriates.
Sources say the Election Commission submitted five hundred copies of its feasibility report on Internet Voting in October 2018, while the reports on use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and Biometric Verification Machines (BVM) were submitted to the parliament in November 2017.
“The ‘I’ Voting (Internet Voting) project was meant to give overseas Pakistanis a chance to cast their votes while using a ‘secure link’ from their PCs. The Internet Voting Pilot Project was successfully tested during the by-polls held in October last year,” said a source.
In a country that undergoes political turmoil after each election due to rigging allegations, use of EVMs and BVMs could put an end to this hullabaloo. The biometric verification and electronic voting mechanisms could help Election Commission keep record for electronic audit of the ballot and satisfy the aggrieved complainants through smart use of technology.
“It’s disturbing to see our reports collecting dust in the storerooms of parliament. These reports were compiled after running pilot projects which consumed millions of rupees,” a source told Dunya News.
The Election Act 2017 makes it mandatory for the government to lay these reports before the parliament. After submission of these reports, the Election Act binds the government to lay these reports within fifteen days.
Sources believe that attitude of the legislature has put the dream of using technology in upcoming general elections in doldrums.