ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Pakistan shall be adding 7.8 million new votes to existing voter lists in the next few months, said Chief Election Commissioner Justice (Retd) Sardar Muhammad Raza on Tuesday.
The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) was talking to a six- member delegation of Nepalese Election Commission that called on him and members of the Election Commission at ECP’s Secretariat. The delegation was led by Dolakh Bahadur Gurung, Chief of Napalese Election Commission.
The CEC in his welcoming remarks said the ECP enjoys independence guaranteed by the Constitution and always focused on efforts to make elections as transparent as possible in dispensation of its constitutional mandate to hold free, fair and transparent elections.
During its journey as a first step, he said, the ECP focused its efforts on an accurate and error-free electoral roll and entered into an agreement with National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) which has an up-to-date civil registry database.
The ECP used the civil registry database of NADRA to develop our Computerized Electoral Rolls System (CERS) in which National Identity Card number is being used as unique identifier, the CEC added. “This has eliminated the chances of multiple enrolment of a voter and help remove record of deceased voters periodically to keep the electoral rolls updated.”
He informed the delegation that at present there are 86.6 million registered voters in Pakistan while the ECP is in the process of registering 7.8 million new NIC holders as voters in the next few months.
The CEC further stated that in Pakistan, traditionally candidates used to issue voter extracts (called perchees) to the voters outside the polling stations to help them locate their names in the electoral rolls and it used to be alleged that such extracts were also used by the candidates for their election campaign despite the fact that law prohibits the campaign on the poll day.
The ECP, he said, introduced Electronic-perchee (e-perchee) whereby, an SMS is sent to the voter informing him about his or her name, location of his or her designated polling station, serial number on the electoral roll where the name of the voter is enrolled, number of his or her electoral block, etc., if a citizen sends his NIC number on 8300.
“This system helped citizens to confirm their voting details in General Elections 2013 and approximately 55 million voters used this service to check their names on voters list,” he said. “This practice resulted in increasing our voters turn out in 2013 elections to 55 percent from previous 40 to 45 percent turnout.”
The CEC said, democratization is an ongoing process and in order to let it continue as such, the Electoral Management Bodies of SAARC countries should benefit from each other in variety of ways.
He expressed hope that the visit will be a step forward in that direction and such visits among the SAARC countries will enhance mutual cooperation and provide an opportunity to share experiences to improve the electoral process in the member countries.
Dolakh Bahadur Gurung, Election Commissioner of Napalese Election Commission briefed about system in their country and reiterated similar hope for mutual cooperation and sharing experiences. He also thanked the CEC and officers of the Election Commission of Pakistan for their warm welcome and fruitful briefing.
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