ISLAMABAD - National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has detected over 200,000 votes of aliens since 2013 in the voters' list under which 2013 General Elections were held and all these illegal votes have now been cancelled.

The official figures of Nadra show that the authority has cancelled 236,000 illegal computerised national identity cards (CNICs), most of them of aliens and others of those Pakistanis who got issued double identity cards since 2013 when the incumbent PML-N government came into power. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan made this figure public in his Tuesday's press conference as well.

The official data shows that the government has cancelled around 6,062 illegal CNICs issued to aliens in 2013; 22,361 illegal CNICs were revoked in 2014; 96,689 CNICs in 2015 and 1,11,540 illegal CNICs were cancelled in 2016 while around 29000 passports in the possession of aliens have been cancelled since 2013.

By analysing this figure into technical terms, it is clear that over 0.2 million aliens were in the voters' list under which the General Elections 2013 were held.

In 2013, around 86 million voters were in the voters' list and now they are around 93 million voters as Nadra automatically registers the vote of a person who gets CNIC from it after attaining the age of 18. There are around 105 million CNIC holders in the country. An interesting fact in the case is that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is not in the knowledge of those votes that have been cancelled by the national registration authority after finding them illegal or of aliens.

A spokesman of Nadra said that around 236,000 illegal CNICs, mostly of aliens, have been cancelled since 2013 and the names of such cardholders have been deleted from the voters' list as the list was being updated automatically. "Under a procedure, when a card is cancelled, the vote against this card is also removed from the voter list," he said.

On the other side, a senior official of the ECP, who was not authorised to speak, showed his ignorance about any such development of cancellation of 236,000 voters from the list. "We are neither aware of this development nor Nadra has informed us," he said. "The ECP has no access to the online database of voters so far as Nadra deals with it but it is legally bound to inform us if it makes any changes in the voters' list," he said adding that the commission had entered into an agreement with the authority that the latter would hand over the system of voters' databank to the former and help in capacity building of the commission as well.

But Nadra did nothing in this regard and the matter had also been discussed in the Electoral Reforms Committee, he said.

Though, a communication gap between Nadra and the ECP is clearly visible yet CNICs' re-verification campaign of Nadra announced by the interior minister on Wednesday following the killing of Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour would have serious implications on the voters' lists as the next election due in 2018. The re-verification process of computerised national identity cards (CNICs) of all Pakistanis would directly affect the voters' list, as Nadra would automatically delete the fake and illegal votes during the re-verification of the CNICs.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had decided to re-verify national identity cards of all Pakistanis after facing an embarrassing situation when a Pakistani CNIC and a green passport were found near drone-hit car wreckage in which Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in Balochistan.

The minister in a meeting had given 48-hour deadline to Nadra to prepare a road-map to launch "a National Plan for Re-verification of CNICs of over 180 million population" in order to take a swift action against the use of Pakistani CNICs by aliens. While this will remain a very hard task for Nadra to re-verify over 100 million CNICs and its modus operandi has yet to be finalised, the process would open anther Pandora's box with regard to the fake voters.