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8 million overseas Pakistanis can now cast votes online: NADRA

8 million overseas Pakistanis can now cast votes online: NADRA

Overseas Pakistanis would be able cast votes by using a specific mobile number and code

More than 8 million Pakistan living abroad will now be able to cast their votes in future elections, thanks to NADRA and ECP.

National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has informed the Sub-Committee of Electoral Reforms Committee that online voting by 8 million overseas Pakistanis was viable.

Addressing the sub-committee of the parliamentary committee, NADRA officials stated that they would register overseas Pakistanis in their electoral reforms. In addition, they would also document their bio-metric fingerprints.

Federal Minister for Law, Justice & Human Rights Mr. Zahid Hamid, who was acting as the Convener to the sub-committee as well, informed media that first overseas Pakistanis would be registered with NADRA and then their biometric impression would be recorded.

The expatriates would then be issued a secret code, after which, they would be able to cast their votes through their registered mobile number using the given code, he said.

The electoral body also agreed to hand over the registration and election process for overseas Pakistanis to NADRA, he added.

NADRA is also expected to submit a report within two weeks mentioning the time period required for the registration process.

NADRA initially had the resources to register 140,000 overseas Pakistanis within one year but could be enhanced with better resources. The committee however proposed NADRA to suggest recommendations to speed up the registration process.

Though the work on a proposal to give the right to vote to overseas Pakistanis has been continuing for quite some time, the Supreme Court, on a petition filed by PTI chief Imran Khan, had directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in 2012 to study whether Pakistanis living abroad could exercise the right and work out a plan in the light of the experience of other countries.

ECP declared the right to cast vote to overseas Pakistanis having national identity cards but remained unsuccessful in working out feasible modalities for the purpose, reported Dawn.

The options discussed included setting up polling stations in embassies and consulates in over a dozen countries where large numbers of Pakistanis live or work and expatriates in other countries being allowed to cast their votes through postal ballot.

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