Vote casting of overseas Pakistanis is possible through postal ballots, says Secretary ECP

Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Ishtiak Ahmad Khan on Wednesday stated that vote casting of overseas Pakistanis through postal ballots is possible, but the Supreme Court has directed the ECP to device a system of electronic voting.

Talking to media after a key meeting on voting rights of overseas Pakistanis at the ECP office, Ishtiak Ahmad Khan said that all ministries have assured their full cooperation regarding ongoing efforts to render voting rights to overseas Pakistanis.

He stated the Ministry of Finance has assured full support regarding financing. The Secretary ECP said that ministries of interior, finance, foreign affairs, and overseas Pakistanis would present their arguments before the Supreme Court on Thursday.

In its report submitted in the Supreme Court on Monday, the ECP opposed an online voting system for overseas Pakistanis, terming it expensive, time-consuming, and impracticable, contending that facilitating eligible overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in the upcoming general elections was not advisable. The ECP was of the view that giving voting rights to Overseas Pakistanis through uncertified/untested computer system (online voting) would be disastrous. The ECP had suggested that initially the system should be used on a limited scale and it also requires legislation.

It is pertinent to mention here that the apex court earlier directed the secretaries of law and justice, information technology, foreign affairs, ministry of oversees Pakistanis and the ECP, as well as the chairman NADRA to devise a mechanism to enable overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in the coming polls.