As the elections are expected to happen sometime soon we have seen the political parties making most use of technology, the recent being robo calls for inviting participation to the PTI Karachi gathering. Stepping ahead, National Database & Registration Authority, NADRA has developed an SMS based service application to facilitate citizens.
The application will allow CNIC holders to verify their vote registration and particulars in the voters’ list.
Cellular operators Ufone, Warid and Telenor have offered their platforms in best national interest while other companies are expected to get in to the loop.
NADRA and ECP signed agreements with telecom companies to forge a partnership in order to launch this service. “I congratulate UFone, WARID and Telenor who stood up and offer their platforms for this national interest, and expect the companies who are sitting on fence to step up to the challenge and contribute on national cause” said Tariq Malik. He added that this service would be initiated soon after the publication of Preliminary (ghair hatmi) electoral rolls (PER) for public display. The sender will send his CNIC number to a short code and will subsequently receive a message in Urdu. It will confirm registration of voter as well as location (electoral area) where voter is registered along with serial number of voter in electoral rolls.
This service will help the general public to check the status of their vote conveniently from anywhere, anytime across Pakistan. He said after the introduction of the new service, it would be the responsibility of every eligible voter to make sure that his/her vote had been registered and furthermore to report any discrepancy to ECP. The intent of using this service is to assist ECP to execute its constitutional duty as per electoral laws. “We want to use technology, to provide outreach” Malik added. ECP is considering more than 50,000 display centers countrywide where PER will be physically displayed but introduction of SMS service is expected to spike genuine public interest in electoral process.
While lauding the innovative service and NADRA role’s Mr. Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan, Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan said it is a milestone to facilitate the voters. He said it is a great convenience to the citizens to be able to check their vote status through e-governance using state-of-the-art technologies, first time in the world. He appreciated the cooperation offered by the Ufone and Telenor in this historic move leading towards ensuring free and fair elections. Deputy Chairman NADRA, Secretary ECP and Chiefs of Ufone, WARID and Telenor later signed the agreement.
Details on the procedure and short code for the service will be announced as soon as the electoral rolls are ready which is expected sometime next month.