Tech glitch irks candidates, voters

2018-07-27T05:33:18+05:00 FAIZAN ALI WARRAICH

LAHORE - Voters and candidates were highly perturbed over the largest technological malfunction in the country as they waited till late night for unofficial and unverified results.

The system chocked as Result Transmission System (RTS), a mobile application, built to transmit the Form-45 (final voters count) to the Election Commission of Pakistan failed to work according to the plan.

The RTS was supposed to collect results from 85,307 polling stations across the country but it went down at 9 pm across the country. 

Form 45 which was previously Form 14 is the statement of the count as per Election Commission of Pakistan. The form showed number of valid votes bagged by each contesting candidate.

The nail-biting delay in the general election generated rumors on social media and even mainstream media that India or some other country had hacked the mobile application that resulted in its failure. Another rumour was in the air that there would have been rigging or alteration in results underway as no official stance was given on why there had been so much delay in announcing the results.  

Chairman Punjab Information Technology Board Umar Saif who has been top aide of former Punjab chief minister Shabaz Sharif on technology in last five years of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz regime said, “Elections 2018 RTS system has nothing to do with PITB rather the RTS system was built by NADRA and Election Commission of Pakistan.”

He clarified the rumours in the air which criticized the alleged role of PTIB in building of mobile application.

ECP this year even conducted a pilot project of RTS in NA-4 (Peshawar) in which presiding officers (PO) compiled the results in mobile application along with the picture of FORM XIV (Form 45) and transmitted to the ECP’s main server.

In another pilot project ECP conducted the exercise of using RTS PS-114 Karachi bye election which was successfully implemented.

ECP had signed a document with National Database and Registration Authority on project of “Result Transmission System (RTS)” to give technical assistance to ECP mobile application.

As per section 13(2) of the Election Act, 2017, POs will be able to transmit results directly from polling station using his/ her mobile phone to the ECP/ R.O Office on real-time basis in the upcoming General Elections 2018.

Government of Pakistan twitter account tweeted at 9 am on polling day that “Election Results will be transmitted through the fastest and modern system. According to the Election Commission, Results Transmission System (RTS) was linked with 80,000 polling stations across the country.”

Agents of political parties waited till morning in order to get the verified copy of the Form 45 but the presiding officers were not supposed to give it to them before sending it to the ECP main server. The technological and technical failure of mobile application that caused much delay in announcing the polling results even cooled down celebrations of possible vinning candidates. The situation remained uncertain till late night.

Technology experts opined that Form 45 would have been delivered through other mobile applications also. In order to avoid any delay and chaos there should have been a plan-B to counter the possible failure of the mobile application and according to media reports concerns were already showed on the possible failure of the mobile application. 

Experts have asked why the system would not come back online on time since it had been went down at 9 pm.

 

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