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Pakistan officials stress time needed for biometric polling system
Published: 2014.11.05

The local government of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province wants a biometric voting system in place for polls due to be held in November, but officials from the country’s election commission say it will take at least six months to deploy.

Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) officials gathered in the capital, Islamabad, on Tuesday to discuss whether it would be possible to hold polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by November 15, and the local government’s demands for a biometric system.

At the meeting, ECP officials argued that the launching of biometric system would take at least six months to complete.

ECP officials said after the meeting that the body would consult the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) on whether it would be able to purchase biometric machines and then enrol voters’ data by November 15.

However, official sources told the Nation newspaper that Nadra would “need two months to feed voters data into the biometric machines”, and raised questions over a lack of legislation related to the machines.

“What if biometric machines fail to identify the genuine voter in certain constituency? How will we resolve the litigation? These are things to be settled before introducing the system,” the official, who refused to be named, asked the newspaper.

Two days earlier opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party chairman Imran Khan said the ECP was delaying the local elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Khan has consistenly called for the use of biometrics in polling, saying it will prevent electoral fraud better than the current, dated system of indelible ink.

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