SC orders ECP to make e-voting rolls by Aug 17

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan to make e-voting rolls and inform the court by August 17.

A three-member SC bench on Wednesday heard a case pertaining to extending the right to overseas Pakistanis. ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad told the court that an operational plan of the e-voting was completed in collaboration with the National Database & Registration Authority (NDRA).

Justice Ijazul Ahsan observed that the Article 94 of the Election Act was mentioned in the operational plan which is uncertain at right to vote. Babar Yaqoob said that the e-voting would be conducted on experimental bases in the upcoming bye-elections while the results would be furnished before the parliament.

In the light of the said experience, the parliament will ascertain future of the e-voting, he said. Justice Ahsan remarked that whether the votes through e-voting could be kept separate from the other votes. The attorney general said that the court order was regarding law of the electoral list but it was removed in the Election Act.

Upon which, the chief justice inquired was the foundation of the court ruling removed as per you? He said that the Election Act was passed immediately. Babar Yaqoob said that right of the expatriates to exercise right to vote was discussed in the parliamentary committee whereas the opinion was different. The ECP secretary said that bye-elections were to be held on 27 constituencies.

The chief justice remarked that all the constituencies should experience e-voting and no constituency would witness discrimination. Justice Ahsan said that it would be easy to identify fake votes. The chief justice observed that results in all four provinces would be apparent and if there would be any mistake in the e-voting then the vote would be discarded.

If the e-voting system not gets hacked then votes of the expatriates would be included in the results. “We don’t want any confusion and ruin in the by-elections as it cost millions in each constituency.”

PTI counsel Anwar Masood argued that the ECP has the right to formulate code of conduct in the light of the constitution. He said that the ECP has the right to publish the rolls. It also reserves right to give decisions on complains, he said.

Justice Ahsan remarked that in order to avoid confusion a code of conduct has to be made. Upon which, the ECP secretary said that the schedule of the by-election would be issued today. The court order that the ECP should make rolls and inform the court by August 17. The court adjourned the case till August 17.

Published in Pakistan Today