Pakistan plans e-voting in next poll; 2m smart cards issued

November 06, 2013 - 6:49:53 am

ISLAMABAD: The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) of Pakistan has planned to facilitate e-voting and interactive electronic thumb-voting in the next general elections, sources in Nadra said.

The Nadra has issued over two million Smart Cards during last 10 months, adding that the Nadra continues to process Smart Cards without any break.

Sources in Nadra disclosed that the Nadra authorities have shown serious concern over a wrong impression published in various sections of the press on October 29, 2013 that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has ordered ban on the issuance of Smart Cards.

In fact, a division bench of the IHC on October 28, 2013, has ordered Nadra to maintain status quo about procurement of Smart Cards prior to October 9, 2013 decision till final disposal of appeal. Neither was the issuance of Smart Cards challenged in any court of law nor was any stay order passed regarding it. The order came in response to an intra-court appeal filed by a private Karachi-based firm which was earlier dismissed after series of hearings by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui.

His verdict of October 9 clearly maintains that no illegality or misdemeanour in the entire process of procurement had taken place. Nadra sources also confirmed that the tender was floated in accordance with the PPRA rules.

Since Smart Cards have been launched with the multifaceted potential usages back in December 2012, Nadra’s management has extensively developed future plans for incorporation of Smart National ID Card for projects related to social and financial inclusion programmes. To implement such programmes, over 33.5 million Smart Cards were reportedly expected to be required in the coming months.

However, the technology procurement are complex, time taking and any delay caused due to litigation has financial implications on Nadra’s revenues. Nadra has incurred Rs50m losses in exchange rate variations from the opening of tender till the time of litigation. It is pertinent to mention here that Nadra is developing an ecosystem around Smart Cards to handle forgery, fraud, illegal immigration and human trafficking by making use of the SNIC.

The popularity of Smart Card can best be gauged from the fact that the people of Pakistan have so far acquired two million Smart Cards in a very short span of ten months.

Internews

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