ISLAMABAD: While elections are being declared void because of Nadra’ technical stance that thumb impressions manually taken on paper could not be verified from authority’s database of digitally captured impressions in every case, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) stated on Monday that during its pilot project in NA-19 by-elections, thumb impressions of physically present persons could not verified in 54 percent cases from the digital biometric machines.
The disclosure has raised very serious questions on stance taken in judgment of NA-122 tribunal where Nadra’s plea that manually captured thumb impressions, no matter taken through magnetic ink or otherwise, could not be verified in majority of the cases.
Now ECP has disclosed that during its pilot project of biometric verification of voters at 30 polling stations of NA-19 by-election on August 16, 2015, a total of 15,723 voters asked to get them verified from biometric machines and only 7,233 voters were verified whereas even these digital machines failed to verify 8,490 physically present voters because of different reasons including bad quality of impressions on thumb. The logic is simple, if some impression could not be read by the machines directly, how print of these thumb impressions taken on paper could be readable and be matched with database record. All these voters were physically present there and knew their thumb impressions would be taken and obviously they were appearing in polling stations in presence of polling agents of all the political parties.
The major question remains which clause of law provides for a must verification of thumb impressions or making results of any such verification process a basis of declaring an election void.
According to top ECP officials and election experts, there is a need of great enhancement and improvement in the system, network and equipment before launch of biometric verification system in some constituencies. They say that even that will not be hundred percent workable and accurate idea and those voters not recognised by biometric machines will have to be allowed to vote after their “manual” verification.