Islamabad - The row over the alleged crash of the Result Transmission System (RTS) took a new turn on Thursday when the Election Commission of Pakistan asked the Cabinet Division to form an inquiry committee to investigate the causes its breakdown during July 25 general election.

In a letter, the ECP asked the Cabinet Division to form a committee comprising technical experts from National Telecom and Information Technology Security Board (NTISB) and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to probe the matter.

The committee has been asked to analyze the RTS project, the "concept of RTS in terms of its implementability", its preparation and finalization by National Database Regulatory Authority (Nadra), the quality and extent of training imparted to its users, the "train of events taking place on the night of July 25 and thereafter" fix responsibility for any malfunction and make recommendations for future, according to the terms of reference decided by the commission, according to letter written to the Cabinet Division.

The inquiry, ordered under the powers extended to the commission under Article 220 and 218 (3) of the constitution, will have to be completed within four weeks, the letter issued by Director Elections Nadeem Qasim said.

The controversy surrounding the RTS, a mobile application created by NADRA and employed by the ECP to relay results Form 45s from polling stations to the commission, was working when the ECP secretary said late into July 25 that the system had 'malfunctioned'.

On the other hand, a spokesperson for the NADRA in a statement said it had only assisted the ECP in conducting free, fair and transparent elections in the country.

Several political parties including the PPP and the PML-N have been demanding a parliamentary commission to look into matter how the RTS crashed.

Meanwhile, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, a spokesman for Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, in a statement expressed great concern over the questions raised on the failure of the RTS.

He said that the media exposed ECP's RTS related claims. Senator Khokhar said that the news of RTS failure on the media supports the party's stance.

He said that the party's candidates kept on repeating the fact that their polling agents were forced out of the polling stations at the time of the counting of votes. Those who managed to enter were pushed out too, he said.

Senator Khokhar said that this behavior prevailed in the PPP chairman's constituencies including Lyari, Larkana and Malakand.

The form 45 from Bilawal Bhutto's constituency in Lyari was received eight days later while that from Malakand was yet to be received, he said. 

He said that it was ECP's responsibility to carry out free, fair and impartial elections which it failed to do so. He said that PPP is a pro-democratic party but that does not mean that it won't speak up when its votes have been snatched from right under the ECP's nose.


Online adds: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is perusing the nationality of Ahmed Ali, a recently-elected member from PB-26 of Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) who is allegedly an Afghan national.

According to details, during submission of nomination papers, returning officer had rejected his candidature on the plea that his CNIC was blocked by Nadra but the tribunal allowed him to contest election on his appeal.

Notification of his membership shall be issued after the final decision of the tribunal. The tribunal has given three months to produce CNIC authenticating him Pakistani national.

On the other hand, the newly-elected member has filed a petition before Balochistan High Court pleading a decision in his favour whereas Deputy Commissioner Quetta produced a Nadra report before the court thereby declaring him as an Afghan national. The Nadra asserted that Ahmed Ali has been unsuccessful to prove himself a Pakistani national. The Nadra contended before the Balochistan High Court that the newly-elected member of the provincial assembly was an Afghan national and had been declared as such.