EC in contact with Nadra for electoral rolls revision
By Mumtaz Alvi
ISLAMABAD: Facing a daunting task of revision of electoral rolls and above all, making the entire database transparent, which is replete with errors, the Election Commission (EC) has approached the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) for help in this context, The News learnt here on Saturday.
More than Rs 1.2 billion were spent on preparation of electoral rolls, which sparked criticism from all the stakeholders for these had multiple errors. The experience essentially barred the electoral body from undertaking revision of the rolls for two years, sources in the ECP told this correspondent.
However, sources pointed out that the incumbent Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retd) Hamid Ali Mirza is keen on seeking Nadra’s cooperation on two proposals: either to making the old list error-free; or going for a fresh list of electoral rolls. It is a fundamental duty of the CEC to revise and update the electoral rolls every year to ensure making participation of people maximum in an electoral process.
They said technical groups of the ECP as well as Nadra were deliberating upon the two proposals. Sources revealed the authority had rejected the ECP’s request for free of cost execution of the task. Although, Nadra is self-reliant but it is not in a position to oblige the electoral body this way.
At least, two meetings have taken place in recent days at the ECP Secretariat on the matter and another one is fixed for Tuesday, they noted.
When approached, ECP spokesman Afzal Khan said they were in negotiations with Nadra: in case of an agreement, the two sides would augment data and door-to-door enumeration would be undertaken across Pakistan for its verification. He made it clear that to make the electoral rolls error-free and credible, was a primary task of the ECP.
Deputy Chairman Nadra Tariq Malik, when contacted, confirmed that the two sides were discussing pros and cons of the matter, claiming his authority had the database and technical know-how to revise the electoral rolls or prepare new ones with accuracy and transparency.
“The ECP has a list of 62 million voters, whereas we have registered as many as 89 percent adult eligible persons and will touch 90 percent mark by June 25,” the Nadra deputy chief said while replying to a question.
To another question, he was of the view that in case of making the old list error-free, Nadra would consume from eight to 10 months, whereas the preparation of a fresh database would need around six months.
He said ECP was holding a series of by-elections by using the electoral rolls, whereas Nadra by now had registered 40 percent more people, who were potential voters.
He added up to August 14, Nadra would achieve the target of 93 percent adult eligible population’s registration, which is construed 100 percent because around seven percent adults become part of the process every year. “Nadra is ready to verify data or undertake enumeration of voters,” he said. To ensure transparency, accuracy and avoid duplicity, Nadra has proposed to ECP leadership to introduce CNIC mandatory for registration of a voter: a person’s photograph of his CNIC should also be posted in front of his name in the voter list.
Source: The News