ISLAMABAD: On the apex court’s directive, the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) on Friday gave a detailed briefing on the procedure of internet voting.
However, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and other political parties expressed their reservations regarding the risks and insecurities pertaining to an online system.
PML-N leader Mushahid Hussain Syed said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would not be able to handle electronic voting, suggesting that an electronic voting system should at least not be put on trial for the forthcoming elections.
He further said that the ECP would be overburdened and that it would be enough for the commission if it can smoothly and fairly conduct the forthcoming general elections with completion delimitations.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday heard the case regarding the overseas Pakistanis’ right of vote. NADRA’s chairman gave a detailed briefing on the working procedure of an electronic system.
The briefing was attended by ECP chief, the interior secretary, foreign affairs secretary, Mushahid Hussain Syed, Naveed Qamar, Chaudhary Sarwar, Shireen Mazari, Shafqat Mehmood, Fawad Chaudhry, Senator Javed Abbasi, Sitara Ayaz and others.
NADRA’s chairman also informed the meeting that an online system has been prepared and it will be linked with an electronic voting system and the ECP website.
He further informed that a software has been prepared in both English and Urdu languages and only those who would be able to answer some specific questions would be able to cast a vote. These questions will be related to family and the person attempting to cast his or her vote would be able to get a password just once.
The chief justice inquired if overseas Pakistanis will have the right to cast a vote to which the attorney general replied yes, but a criterion for them has yet to be prepared.
IT experts also raised a few questions. They said the electronic system had failed wherever it was used for voting in the world. They said that hacking an electronic system is an easy task and if it remains secure from hacking, data stealing becomes another big challenge.
The chief justice said that the elections would not be allowed to turn suspicious. But if it feels necessary, a few members will be asked to resign from their posts for experimental elections.
Meanwhile, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan said that it doesn’t mean we should close the motorways if the ratio of road accidents is growing on it.
During the hearing, Usman Khan Kakar raised a point about women in various areas of the country who are not allowed to cast their vote.
The chief justice said that in these areas influential people decide whether women will cast a vote or not, adding that what could be more tyrannical than that. The court was adjourned for 10 days.