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ECP asks for constituting panel to probe RTS failure

By Our Correspondent
August 03, 2018

ISLAMABAD: In the face of mounting criticism from opposition parties with regard to transparency in the July 25 polls, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday asked the government for constitution of a panel of experts to probe the failure of result management system within four weeks and fix the responsibility as well.

On behalf of the Election Commission, Director Elections Ch Nadeem Qasim wrote a letter, in this context, to the Cabinet Division secretary with the subject: Inquiry of result management system during the conduct of polls on July 25 and afterwards.

“You are hereby directed in terms of Article 202 with Article 218 (3) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan to constitute an inquiry committee consisting of technical experts from the National Telecommunication and Information Technology Security Board and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority,” says the letter.

The terms of reference of the inquiry include: to analyse the concept of RTS in terms of its ‘implementation’, to analyse the project of RTS as envisaged by the Election Commission; to analyse the preparation and finalisation of RTS project by the National Database and Registration Authority; to analyse the quality and extent of training imparted to various users under the projects; to analyse the chain of events taking place on the night of July 25 andafterwards, to fix responsibility in terms of all these factors and make recommendations for future course of action.

The Election Commission said that the inquiry must be concluded within four weeks and if required, an expert opinion may also be utilised after due permission of the Election Commission.

Already, the election commission has written to the provincial election commissioners, district returning officers and returning officers to furnish report as to why there was delay in results. Joint opposition alleges that polling agents were not allowed during counting and there was an alleged deliberate attempt to delay announcement of results.

Meanwhile, the election commission spokesperson reacted strongly to a statement by PPP senior leader and candidate from NA-259, Mir Baz Khetran, that the ECP secretary interfered and rigged polls in the constituency. He vehemently rejected this statement and said that through such baseless and unfounded statements, facts could not be hidden.

He emphasised that according to initial results from NA-259, Khetran was clearly far behind and turned out to be at number three at the time of final results. He called on the PPP leader to desist from such baseless statements and accept the voters’ decision.