In his article ‘What is an error-free voters’ list?’ (Oct 11), Naeem Sadiq raised his concerns over the Final Electoral Rolls 2012. The writer believes that the population of Pakistan should be 190 million based on the 1998 Census and has assumed a gap of 12.6 million in voters’ list. According to the Population Census Organisation, the projected population of Pakistan is 179,491,532 million.
Accordingly, applying the adult-to-minor ratio, 91,989,410 million adult citizens should be registered on the electoral rolls. Currently, the FER 2012 consists of 84.4 million voters. Ground verification of another 800,000 fresh CNICs is in progress by the Election Commission of Pakistan and once verified these CNICs will be enrolled as voters. This will make the FER 2012 of 85.2 million (92.6 percent). Rest of the difference includes citizens living abroad, citizens who have renounced their nationality and those who have not yet obtained CNICs.
Furthermore, the ECP has announced that any citizen who is 18-year-old and possesses a CNIC is eligible to be registered as a voter. This is a continuous process and will continue till the next general elections are announced. The ECP is also conducting a comprehensive voter registration movement through which community mobilisation will be carried out. It is high time all stakeholders, including political parties, the civil society and the media, played their role in increasing voters’ registration. In this regard, Nadra has extended its outreach through mobile registration units and is issuing free of cost CNIC to citizens of Pakistan.
Sadiq writes that the voters’ lists contain names of individuals who are no longer alive. This number is close to 2 million according to Nadra’s records and 15 million according to some legislators. Nadra is electronically connected to union councils that retain birth and death records. All death registrations reported to union councils have already been removed from the electoral rolls. Moreover, all voters who were reported “deceased” during the door-to-door verification or claims/objections were also removed from the final rolls. The ECP will be pleased to remove the “15 million voters” if substantial evidence of identity is provided against such allegedly deceased voters.
As for the writer’s contention that “there is no easy way to estimate or correct those whose names appear in the electoral rolls but with a wrong polling address – another city or an incorrect location of the same city”, electoral rolls have been prepared on the basis of the Household Census 2011, using identity information from the Nadra database. These lists have gone through door-to-door verification and display process. The same were, and are, virtually displayed through SMSs. All possible efforts have been carried out to register voters according to their will as provided under Section 7 of the Electoral Rolls Act, 1974. After the publication of the FER 2012, Section 18 is operative through which voters can get registered in any electoral area after providing the proof of residence. This process will continue till the elections are announced.
Lastly, in response to the writer’s observation that individuals exist whose names have not been included in the voters’ list despite their possessing NIC, Nadra clarifies that the FER 2012 have been prepared on the basis of Nadra’s database. Any CNIC not present on the electoral rolls is due to the following reasons: the individual is deceased, the CNIC is blocked by Nadra, the individual is an overseas Pakistani having no proof of residence in Pakistan, the individual has renounced his nationality, the individual belongs to AJK or Gilgit-Baltistan, or, the individual has obtained his CNIC very recently and is undergoing ECP’s verification process.