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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday informed a Senate panel that a system of transmission of election results from the polling stations to the headquarters under a secure arrangement will be introduced in the upcoming elections using modern technology.

The Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs met with Senator Taj Haider in the chair.

Senior officials of the ECP gave a detailed briefing to the committee on the irregularities found in the voter lists during the recent local bodies and by-elections.

The ECP officials told the committee that those elections were conducted on the old voter lists and there were still many loopholes in the electoral system on which the Commission was working with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to further improve the electoral system.

The committee was further told that people change their house but due to a lack of awareness, they did not register their new address in the NADRA records due to which problems arose.

It was further informed that the ECP had completed the process of door-to-door voter verification and accordingly, the new voter lists would be available after September 9.

The ECP officials said that a system of transmission of election results from the polling stations under a secure RTS [result transmission system] would be introduced in the upcoming elections using modern technology as well as to ensure timely delivery of signed Form 45.

They said that campaigns were being conducted in different areas of the country in collaboration with NADRA for the registration of women voters and provision of national identity cards due to which the number of women voters had increased significantly in the recent local bodies elections. They added that a media campaign had also been launched to create awareness among the general public.

Senator Sania Nishtar and other members appreciated the efforts made by the commission and emphasized the need for undertaking all measures to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections.

Chairman Committee Senator Taj Haider said the time for the election was very short and it was the responsibility of the ECP to conduct a fair and transparent election. He directed the commission to resolve all the problems in collaboration with the NADRA. He said if any kind of legislation was required in that regard, the commission should send its recommendations to the committee.

Regarding the future of the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) employees, the implementation status of the recommendations issued by the committee in 2020 was reviewed.

Senior officials of the ERRA told the committee that all the employees of the ERRA were recruited on a contract and daily wage basis and the employees were dismissed as per the law only on the expiry of their contracts.

The Chairman Committee said that since it had been decided to merge the ERRA in the NDMA and considering the flood situation in the country, there was a need of trained people and stated that on humanitarian grounds the employees should be reinstated.

The ERRA officials said that decision would be taken in accordance with the law after reviewing the matter in detail at the end of this month at the ERRA’s board meeting.

The meeting was attended by Sania Nishtar, Azam Khan Swati, Kamran Murtaza, and officials of the ERRA, the ECP, and the NADRA.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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