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June 19, 2018

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Voters’ data leak issue surfaces

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said on Monday it had written to the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) Chairman Usman Yousaf Mobin, over an alleged voters data leak to outsiders, fearing a potential threat to the computerised electoral rolls system (CERS).

The ECP wrote a letter to the Nadra chairman and sought urgent measures and actions before the act impacts the credibility of Nadra and the ECP at large as custodian of the electoral rolls.

The letter with subject “Confidentiality and security of electoral rolls data”, the ECP reminded the Nadra chairman that as per the contract signed between the ECP and Nadra in June 2011, Nadra is acting as a faithful service provider to the ECP and is at all times supposed to support and safeguard the ECP’s legitimate interests.

“However, the competent authority has observed with great concern that there exists a potential threat to security of data relating to the computerised electoral rolls system. Apropos to the article/report published on May 25 and May 28 in a English daily, showing that there are insiders who have crept into the system and provided the information to outsiders,” it said.

The ECP wrote that it might also be noted that the report was desired by this commission but on the contrary, the report was shared with non-recipients before it reached this commission, thus raising eyebrows. It also supported the apprehension that other data related to voters might also have been shared with unauthorised hands when such data reports are being shared. “This act is a clear violation of the term 3.11 and 3.3 of the contract and is not acceptable at any cost. It requires urgent measures and actions be taken before it impacts the credibility of Nadra and the ECP at large as custodian of the electoral rolls. It may be noted that all such information and reports are only intended for use of the ECP, whereas Nadra’s role is to maintain and preserve the information/data,” the letter says.

The ECP emphasised that all such persons, who had indulged in this act, need to be taken to task and necessary tangible measures are required urgently to avoid such incidents in future. “Your responsein this regard is keenly awaited and should reach this commission by May 31,” positively.

In a statement, the ECP also put aside the impression, created by some media reports that the letter was written after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had moved the ECP. A spokesperson for the ECP said that nothing hitherto had been received from the PTI in this connection, whereas the letter to Nadra chairman was written by the commission on its own.

It merits a mention here that PTI Chairman Imran Khan had called for removal of Nadra chairman and also alerted senior vice-president of the party Dr Babar Awan, a day before Eid, to file a petition in the Election Commission.

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