Overseas Pakistani: Let’s all vote to thrive the change says Barrister Dawood Ghazanvi

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    Khurram Shahzad (Washington): It was an idea, which turned into a dream and we worked hard, almost 25 years, to accomplished our dream, not for us but for Pakistan and the people of Pakistan, said the Barrister Dawood Ghazanvi who was talking to Washington based journalists arranged by Pakistani American Press Association (PAPA).

    World Congress of Overseas Pakistanis (WCOP)’s counsel Barrister Dawood Ghazanvi is travelling around the world to make an awareness in overseas Pakistanis to exercise their right to vote. While talking about about mechanism of casting vote, he said “The overseas Pakistanis will be able to cast their votes through I-Vote mechanism, available on Election Commission of Pakistan website, on polling day in Pakistan as per electoral rolls. The ECP will be required to register overseas Pakistanis in their home constituencies for the upcoming by-elections in October 2018. On the polling day, overseas Pakistanis would log on to a website and enter their secret voter IDs, which will be communicated to overseas voters on polling day. After logging in, the voter would select a national or provincial assembly ballot option and select from a list of candidates for their constituency in accordance with their NICOP address.”

    On a question of credibility of system and process, Dawood said,

    The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has prepared a multi-tier digital mechanism which is named as ‘Internet Voting System for overseas Pakistanis’. I tell you one thing, it was an expensive process and, so far, we have spent over Rs150 million on it.

    A journalist raised a question about possibility of breach and venerability, Dawood explained, “This new  I-Vote System is highly secured through multiple layers of firewalls, intrusion detection system, and intrusion prevention system. NADRA and related agencies had put great efforts to make it hacking proof by working on its security protocols but we all have to give it a shot, we got to try it and make it happen.”.

    On August 17, the Supreme Court allowed Pakistanis living abroad to vote in by-elections. Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had remarked that overseas Pakistanis would be participating in the by-election through i-voting, a system that allows voters to cast ballots from any computer connected to the internet anywhere in the world.

    The Election Commission of Pakistan issued a voting schedule in August for overseas Pakistani voters ahead of October 14 bypolls. According to the ECP, the bypolls will be held on National Assembly’s 11 and provincial assemblies’ 26 constituencies. Overseas Pakistanis will be able to register themselves on the ECP’s website from September 1 to 15.

    The ECP said that the Foreign Ministry has been informed to aware the voters abroad through Pakistani embassies.Earlier this month, the ECP officials said that in the bypolls overseas Pakistani voters will be able to vote through the internet. Further, only those Pakistanis residing abroad with a machine readable passport (MRP) and a National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) will be eligible for registration.