The Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) leaked letter to the National Database and Regulatory Authority (NADRA) over internet voting has attracted a new wave of controversy.
The letter was written by ECP’s information technology wing in response to NADRA’s letter, followed by a reminder regarding the system.
It also revealed that NADRA wants to sign a new contract worth Rs. 2.4 billion with the ECP for the development of the system without completing the existing contract.
“ECP is of the view that in the first instance, NADRA may inform the fate of the previous project that why NADRA is going to abandon the previous system and on what grounds and on which considerable sum of money equal to Rs. Rs. 6.65 million has been already dispensed with,” read the letter.
The ECP inquired as to why the commission should dispense such a large amount while the existing contract was still in place.
“If the existing system has some loopholes or deficiencies, then who is responsible for those deficiencies and whether these could/would be removed? Has NADRA fixed the responsibility on anyone,” the letter inquired.
The ECP maintained that it is a constitutional entity and will discharge its constitutional obligation as per Article 218 (3) of the Constitution.
“Further, the responsibility and execution of any new methodology is the primary and sole responsibility of ECP, for which it stands committed, provided the technology is implementable and practical in the given timeframe,” the letter read.
The letter also expressed displeasure over the general tone used, especially in para-1 (h) of the letter dated Aug 20, 2021, issued by NADRA.
“The language used in the letter is leading to the impression that ECP is a subordinate body of NADRA, which is trying to dictate a constitutional body, which may be avoided in future correspondence,” the ECP asserted.