ECP to ‘experiment’ biometric machines in NA-19 by-polls

  • NADRA, PTA, Ufone to provide technical assistance in biometric polling in 30 selected polling stations

According to a press release issued on Tuesday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will use biometric machines at 30 selected stations for polling for NA-19 Haripur by-election.

National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Ufone will provide technical assistance on the polling day on August 16.

The conduct of polls through biometric machines is in line with the political parties’ desire, which was conveyed through the Electoral Reforms Committee of Parliament (ERCP), the release added.

It was the recommendation of the ERCP that any by- election may be conducted through biometrics to educate general public about its use in electoral activity by following the “principle of evolution” in a careful manner, instead of “revolution” while introducing new technology in elections.

Since the whole exercise would be performed purely on experimental basis, the impact of use of biometric machines on bye-elections would not disturb the electoral process in the constituency.

To achieve the aforesaid goals, the ECP has already taken all the contesting candidates on board and briefed them comprehensively by sharing with them the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to use biometrics machines at the selected polling stations.

Giving their consent, all the contesting candidates had welcomed the idea of use of biometrics machines as an experiment. They have resolved to extend their full support to the ECP, which includes sensitising their polling agents and educating the voters at large about the use of biometrics machines during the by-elections.

The cascading interactive trainings sessions on use of biometrics machines will be completed on August 13.

The seat of NA-19 constituency fell vacant on directives of Supreme Court to hold election for fresh mandate. Tough contest is expected between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s Babar Nawaz Khan and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s Raja Amir Zaman.