Image: Election Commission of Pakistan
A software to facilitate overseas Pakistanis cast vote in elections would be ready for use by April this year, the National Database and Registration Authority informed the Supreme Court on Monday.
NADRA Chairman Usman Mobin told the highest court of the country – hearing petitions on expatriate Pakistanis’ exercising a right to vote in elections – that the Election Commission of Pakistan has been apprised of the development of the software.
“Work is underway on the software’s development,” he said. “It can [already] be tested on an experimental basis in mock elections and will be ready by the start of April.”
Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar appreciated progress toward having such a software functional by April.
“NADRA and the ECP should sit together and give overseas Pakistanis the gift of voting ability,” the chief justice said.
He instructed NADRA to submit a progress report to the Court during the next hearing in about a month from now.An estimated eight million Pakistanis are living in countries around the world, contributing crucially to the country;s development with billions of dollars in remittances every year. Pakistani diaspora in the United States, Europe and the Middle East have been demanding for a long time that they be made part of their election voting.
A three-member bench of Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, is hearing a number of petitions, appealing that the state set up necessary infrastructure to enable overseas Pakistanis cast their vote in Pakistan’s elections.
A counsel for Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf expressed reservations on the updates, reminding that a similar software was being developed in 2012 but it never materialized.
In response, NADRA director general pledged that the current software would not meet the same fate but would be operational.