Internet voting for overseas Pakistanis

NADRA team headed by its Chairman Usman Y Mobin gave a detailed presentation to the Supreme Court on Monday about the way forward to empower overseas Pakistanis with the ability to cast their vote in the general election through Internet. They apprised the court that preliminary software has been developed to extend electronic voting facility to overseas Pakistanis in general election.
The issue of voting by overseas Pakistanis has been debated since long but nothing concrete emerged because of sensitivity of the issue and technical hitches. The apex court expressed satisfaction over development of the software and observed that this development may be shared with all other stakeholders including Election Commission of Pakistan and Parliamentarians so that the milestone of extending right of vote to overseas Pakistanis through Internet may be achieved in time. Not much can be said about efficacy of the new software, which has been developed by NADRA on a fast track basis as per directions of the Apex Court. Its pros and cons would become clear when feedback from all stakeholders is available but on the face of it the task seems to be Herculean and there are apprehensions by politicians that the exercise may end up creating more controversies than sorting them out. No one is against grant of right of vote to overseas Pakistanis but there would obviously be difficulties in implementing the plan, allowing every overseas Pakistani to vote from his residence in any country of the world. For the sake of transparency, a separate database of Overseas Pakistanis will have to be created to ensure that bogus votes are not polled in the name of overseas Pakistanis. It would also be in the fitness of things, if trial run of the software developed by NADRA is carried out in the presence of all stakeholders.

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