The overseas Pakistanis have shown a lack of enthusiasm for i-voting in the upcoming by-election scheduled for October 14 as a mere 6,319 overseas Pakistanis have registered themselves as voters to vote for in 37 constituencies.
According to data issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), so far 9,965 expatriate Pakistanis accessed the overseas system through the internet and created their accounts. Out of them, 6, 319 were registered as i-voters.
The number of the expats who have registered themselves as of September 15 is far less than potential 732,000 voters who are eligible to vote in the by-polls through the internet.
A day earlier, the ECP extended the deadline for the registration of overseas Pakistanis till 9:00 am on Monday to register as many voters as possible.
The ECP earlier this week dismissed concerns over i-voting which will enable Pakistanis living abroad to vote in the by-elections scheduled to be held on October 14.
Speaking at a press conference, ECP’s spokesperson Nadeem Qasim had rejected the claim that the commission was acting hastily to allow expatriate Pakistanis to exercise their right to franchise through the software. He said it was a right of the overseas Pakistani to vote and called on political parties to appreciate the electoral body’s efforts in this regard.
Qasim said that foolproof voting system had been devised for the by-elections, adding that an awareness programme had also been started for overseas Pakistanis to educate them about i-voting.
The spokesperson said that those possessing National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistani (NICOP) and Machine Readable Passport (MRP) registered as voter in any constituency are eligible for i-voting.
Qasim said that this is a pilot project and a report will be submitted in the parliament after its implementation.