The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has told the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms that online voting can be made feasible to overseas Pakistanis as necessary technology exists, reported Dawn.
The Federal Minister for Law, Justice & Human Rights Mr. Zahid Hamid, who was acting as the Convener to the sub-committee as well, told the Press that a plan to make online voting available to overseas Pakistanis exists along with other options which include setting up polling stations at embassies, or voting through postal ballot were also discussed during the meeting.
While reporting back to the parliamentary committee, NADRA said that to initiate the process it would be needing registrations as well as the biometrics of Pakistanis settled abroad. NADRA indicated that they have the capacity to register 140,000 overseas Pakistanis in a year which can be enhanced depending on the resources that are made available to it.
The Committee agreed and gave a go-ahead to NADRA for registration. For initial works, NADRA has been given a two-week time period to prepare a feasibility report on the time required for the registration. The Committee also asked NADRA to provide recommendations as well as requirements making the registration process quick.
It is unclear if overseas Pakistanis will get a chance to vote online in the next election but Government is serious and works are in progress. The majority of overseas Pakistanis surely can get the chance if ample resources are made available, especially the resources that NADRA needs for the speedy registration. Will overseas get the chance to vote online region-wise as made feasible for each region or the facility is made available to all of them simultaneously, only the time will tell.
There are about 8 Million Pakistanis that are settled abroad. Making voting available to them is going to be a major task. Lets see if technology bridges the seas and overseas Pakistanis get a chance to vote.