ISLAMABAD: Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Raza Khan has said that it is his desire that the 2018 polls are free and fair and conducted using the latest technology.

While speaking at a seminar titled “Election Through Modern Technology”, which was organised by the ECP in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme on Wednesday, he said it was the foremost duty of the ECP to conduct free and transparent elections. The ECP is well aware of its responsibilities, he said, adding that the commission wished that the next general elections were held using modern technology and the commission was working on the proposal.

Sardar Raza Khan said the inclusion of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and biometric system in the election method was part of the five-year strategic plan of the commission. ECP is responsible for holding elections in a free, fair and transparent manner under Article 218 of the constitution and it was fully aware with this duty, the CEC added. The commission has also introduced a smartphone Android-based mobile application for the collection of results, he informed. The CEC also claimed that the commission had implemented biometrics system at 30 polling stations in the by-elections of NA-19, Haripur on an experimental basis.

He said a successful experiment was also conducted on the use of Android-based mobile application for electronic transmission of polling stations results directly from 60 polling stations to ECP’s central server in Islamabad in the by-election of PP-16 (Attock-II). The use of mobile technology will certainly not only ensure transparency but also increase the overall efficiency of the process of result declaration and its transmission, he added. Commenting on the overseas Pakistani’s voting issue; he said a feasibility study on the mechanism of giving voting rights to them was in the pipeline.

The ECP has affirmed its believe to introduce new technologies’ in its system and is trying to meet the demands of the citizens, the CEC added. Talking to the participants of the seminar, Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Electoral Reforms Chairman and Minister for Human Rights Zahid Hamid said the committee was preparing recommendations for using latest technologies in the upcoming elections.