Some eight million Pakistanis living abroad may be able to vote in the next general election if a new software being developed is tested successfully in a mock poll in April, the Supreme Court was told today.
The Chairman of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) Usman Mobin informed the apex court that "the matter [development of a software] has been brought under discussion with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)." "Work is underway on the software's development," Mobin was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper.
"It can [already] be tested on an experimental basis in mock elections and will be ready by the start of April," he said without divulging further details.
Presided over by the chief justice Saqib Nisar, a three- member bench of the Supreme Court was hearing a case combining 16 petitions on the matter that it had accepted on January 5.
The petitions, filed by civilians, had appealed that the state set up appropriate infrastructure so that overseas Pakistanis estimated to number at least eight million can cast their vote in Pakistan's elections, the report said.
The next general elections in Pakistan is expected to be held in July.
"This is a very good news given by NADRA's chairman. He has given a very reasonable 10-week deadline," Chief Justice Nisar said.
He also appreciated the efforts made by NADRA and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) towards the development of a voting system that can empower overseas Pakistanis with the ability to vote in general elections.
"NADRA and the ECP should sit together and give overseas Pakistanis the gift of voting ability," the top judge added, while instructing NADRA to furnish in court a progress report during the case's next hearing in a month's time.
But Opposition Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party's counsel reminded the court that a similar software was developed by the NADRA in 2012.
Responding to this, Mobin said: "That software was not operational. For this software, the overseas voters will have to visit the embassies."
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)