ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed on Thursday rejected the concept of electronic voting for overseas Pakistanis for the upcoming elections and requested Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar to establish a taskforce but do not experiment with the upcoming elections.

PPP leader Syed Naveed Qamar shared the same concerns and said that the system of online voting for overseas Pakistanis can be adopted in the next general elections along with the biometric system for locals. 

However, the chief justice ruled out the misapprehensions of certain parliamentarians and observed, “we will neither pollute the elections nor will we hurt the elections or make it controversial.”

The chief justice further observed that voting is the sacred right and the Constitution has given this right to overseas Pakistanis to exercise their right of vote.

The top court also directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to get in touch with IT experts for their opinion on the software and website.

The experts shall submit their reports within two weeks on the possible hacking attempts and making the software and website secure from such threats.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar was hearing the briefing of NADRA on the mechanism for overseas Pakistanis’ votes through online.

Chairman NADRA Usman Mubin gave presentation stating that there are three major components including registration of voters, verification of voters and result management.

He informed that the voters will get themselves registered on the website after which they will be allotted codes. After registration and verification through identity card or NICOP number, voter’s constituency will appear on screen where the overseas Pakistani will be able to cast the vote.

He further said that the form 45 will be generated automatically for RO.

When the bench asked regarding possibility of tempering, the Chairman NADRA said that his team has done its level best, now the mechanism could be evaluated by a third party for re-validation.

He, however, said that at least 7.9 million are abroad.

After completion of the briefing, an IT expert from NUST discredited the newly developed mechanism saying that the concept of electronic voting in Norway, UK, US, Australia has been flopped.

He said that the rest of the world is much forward to this system, composed by NADRA. He explained that the hackers hack the database through which they can register votes without being in knowledge of a person.  He said that the similar cases took place in Washington DC.

Senator Mushahid Hussain categorically opposed the idea and said that the upcoming elections are important and ECP is already burdened with tasks so by doing so in a short span of time entire election will become controversial.

The Chief Justice said it is true that ECP is already burdened with work but the mechanism shall be made fool-proof adding that the decision will be made as to whether the electronic voting is feasible or not after reports of IT experts on secrecy and hacking.

The case has been adjourned till April 23.