Overseas Pakistanis cannot vote in 2018 elections

Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015,15:32 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Islamabad | Pakistanis living abroad will not be able to vote in the 2018 general elections as the mock exercise carried out by the authorities in four countries failed due to technical and legal reasons, a Parliamentary committee has been informed.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has been under pressure by various parties to make arrangements for enabling thousands of Pakistanis living abroad to participate in elections. Both the ECP and National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) told a parliamentary committee yesterday that voting by overseas Pakistanis would not be possible in the next general elections in 2018, Dawn reported. Quoting sources, the report said that Nadra officials, during an in-camera meeting of the sub-committee of the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms, raised a number of questions about the security of its data, if provided for online or offline verification of voters during elections.

The ECP officials informed members of the committee, headed by federal Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid that the mock exercise it carried out for voting by overseas Pakistanis in four countries had failed for a number of technical and legal reasons. Employees at the Pakistani embassy in Riyadh, High Commission in London and consulates in New York, Dubai, Manchester, Bradford and Glasgow were asked to poll their votes for fictitious candidates through postal ballots and telephone voting.

According to sources, the ECP informed the committee that it had set up a special department in the commission on the issue to do research work. Both the ECP and Nadra also expressed that it was not ready to use voters’ biometric verification and use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the next elections, which is a major demand to make the polling fair and free.