ECP extends registration date for overseas Pakistani voters


ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has extended the date of registration for overseas Pakistani voters from September 15 to September 17.

According to an official of the ECP, overseas Pakistanis have been asked to register themselves as voters by the due date in order to exercise their voting rights in October 14 bye-polls.

He said that all registered overseas Pakistani voters would have the right of cast their vote through the I-Voting system, adding that a letter had been written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs secretary asking him to direct the Pakistani missions abroad to educate overseas Pakistanis regarding the registration and voting processes.

He said that the commission would deliver a voting passport to overseas Pakistanis so they could use the I-Voting to cast their votes in bye-elections, which would be held in 37 constituencies. The official said that all eligible voters would be able to cast their vote during 8:00am to 6:00pm PST on polling day.

He said that overseas Pakistanis need to have machine readable passport (MRP), National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) and their valid email address in order to fulfill the registration requirements.

“Through ECP’s special software, overseas Pakistanis will be able to cast their votes by using their emails,” the official informed, adding that a specific website has been developed jointly by ECP and NADRA for awareness purposes so that the overseas Pakistanis are encouraged to register in the I-Voting system.

He said that the commission, through its official website, has also been trying to sensitise overseas Pakistanis on the new system. “I-Voting system is a pilot project and after its successful use, the commission will compile and submit a report with the parliament for further legislation,” he added.

The ECP official appealed the overseas Pakistanis to play their due role in making this project a success, as future legislation on the matter was based on it. He said around one million overseas Pakistanis have touched this system, and hoped that a large number of overseas Pakistanis will avail this opportunity.

He said that general elections were held under the Election Act, 2017, and this pilot project would be exercised under the same act, adding that efforts are being made to make this system foolproof.