News Desk |
Central Jail Rawalpindi is receiving multiple applications, as many as 111, by its prisoners to exercise their fundamental right to vote via Election Commission of Pakistan.
The ECP will have to take measures to protect the system from cyber-attacks and external online influences.
As stated by sources on last Thursday, these inmates submitted applications to the Election Commission of Pakistan seeking permission to exercise their rights to vote through ballot papers.
The Election Commission of Pakistan has the duty of assigning them with ballot papers, once their vote numbers and area has been verified.
This voting system will be such that, jail inmates will cast a vote for their preferred party and hand over sealed envelopes containing their votes into the hands of the jail administration, which then will be dispatched to the ECP via post.
Looking at historical facts, Global Foundation Executive Director, Ulfat Kazmi, expressed his concern for the procedure of using traditional ballot papers. He termed the ballot paper procedure as outdated and said that rigging couldn’t be controlled especially in the jail cells.
In addition to these critique’s, he proposed that an E-voting system be introduced as instead of using an outdated procedure, expressing that this would reform the electoral system making it increasingly just and fair.
However, threat of rigging also exists, if an E-voting system comes into place, hacking and theft of personal information via electronic devices has become easier more than ever. The ECP will have to take measures to protect the system from cyber-attacks and external online influences. According to Statista, cyber security incidents have risen by 38% in 2015-2016, surpassing the 42.9 million IT security breaches in Pakistan.
Further stating, that in case of any complaint regarding rigging he himself will visit the relevant jail and investigate the matter. And upon unraveling of any proof, justice will be prevailed.
Ulfat Kazmi further expressed his concerns for the security measures to be implemented, when the voting process takes place.
Sources state that the Central Jail of Rawalpindi, hosts as many as 4,632 male and 152 female prisoners. Whereas Attock Central Jail hosts, 765 male and 17 female inmates, District Jail Jhelum accommodates 776 male and 21 female and Chakwal 189 male.
With regard to Rawalpindi Jail, as many as 6,362 male and 190 female prisoners locked in different divisions will exercise their right to vote. This system will also provide an opportunity to jail inmates from Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Segmented on Provincial basis, Punjab hosts as many as 54,213 prisoners in 32 jails, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 14,321 in 21 jails, Balochistan hosts 2,419 in 10 jails, Sindh 20,213 in 21 jails, Azad Jammu and Kashmir hosts ,327 in six jails and Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) 514 inmates in three jails.
District Election Commissioner, Saleem Akhtar Khan when contacted said, that like the past years, the administration will take all possible measures to ensure prisoners participation in the elections. However, he refused the possibility of rigging. Further stating, that in case of any complaint regarding rigging he himself will visit the relevant jail and investigate the matter. And upon unraveling of any proof, justice will be prevailed.
It is a win for Human rights in Pakistan that convicts are being given a say in Pakistan’s future. Unlike many Western countries, the jail inmates are recognized over here as equals when it comes to voting, showing, that in fact their opinions matter too.