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Untested 'Result Transmission System' Failure Led to Delay in Announcement of Pakistan Election Results

Many, including PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif, have accused the election of being the ‘dirtiest’ in the history of Pakistan, alleging that the election had been completely rigged.

Rakhi Bose | News18.com

Updated:July 26, 2018, 8:02 AM IST
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Untested 'Result Transmission System' Failure Led to Delay in Announcement of Pakistan Election Results
Election officials count votes after polling stations closed during the general election in Karachi, Pakistan, July 25, 2018. (Photo: REUTERS)
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Even as Pakistani citizens and international media are waiting with bated breath for the results of the Pakistan’s third civilian election, the Election Commission of Pakistan confirmed early on Thursday that a technical glitch had led to delay in announcing the results.

Speaking to a media gathering, ECP secretary Babar Yaqoob dismissed allegations of foul-play or political pressure. Instead, Yaqood blamed the delay on a technical glitch, Geo News reported.

According to the ECP official, the delay was due to an error in the new mobile based result transmission system or RTS.

The RTS enables presiding officers to transmit results directly from their constituency to returning officers as well as to the ECP in real time. Though the system was being hailed as a technological boon that would ensure smooth and quick elections, Yaqoob confirmed that the system had indeed not been tested.

A day before polls, some returning officers had allegedly raised concerns about the effectiveness of RTS. In fact, ROs from Punjab and other areas had written to the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) about ‘serious’ possibility of malfunction on the day of the polls, The Express Tribune reported. The predictions were based on previous malfunctions that had been witnessed by these ROs in their constituencies.

Some ROs also claimed that their constituencies were not listed on the app at all.

It is to be noted that while the ECP Secretary admitted to not having tested the system, NADRA had earlier said that all tests had been conducted to ensure proper functioning of the system on the day of polls.

Many, including PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif, have accused the election of being the ‘dirtiest’ in the history of Pakistan, alleging that the election had been completely rigged. Sharif called a press-meet late on Wednesday night and accused rival parties of meddling with the results.

Questions were also raised about bags full of discarded Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) recovered from Lahore, after NADRA reportedly distributed cards to 650,000 citizens in five days.

However, Pakistan’s Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Raza Khan addressed the media in the wee hours of Thursday morning and said that he regretted the delay.

“I assure the people of Pakistan that the delay in election results is purely technical,” Geo TV quoted Khan as saying.

The ECP further added that POs had been asked to meet their ROs with the results in the presence of army officers assigned to their booths. It confirmed that results will be declared soon.

Incidentally, this was one of the most expensive elections in the political history of Pakistan. According to pre-poll reports, the ECP had confirmed that it was anticipating the elections to cost approximately Rs 21 billion.

The increase is phenomenal when compared with election budgets for two of Pakistan’s previous civilian polls – a mere Rs 1.84 billion of the national budget was allocated to elections, an amount which rose 150 percent to Rs 4.74 billion in 2013, Dawn reported.

Army contribution toward the election budget also rose from Rs 120 million in 2008 to Rs 785 million in 2013.


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