Misleading Headline on Overseas Voting Rights

Apr 9th, 2013 | By | Category: The News

The News (Jang Group)The News (Jang Group) published a front page article with a misleading headline on 9th April. The article by reporter Mumtaz Alvi discusses the ongoing controversy over proposals to allow overseas Pakistanis to vote online in next month’s elections. As has been reported by other media groups, the ECP has opposed this proposal terming such a system as impossible at this time due to reasons of cost, practicality, and law. The News, however, chose to give the headline to their article as, ‘ECP opposes voting right to expatriates’. Actually, this headline is not even supported by reporter Alvi’s article itself.

According to The News :

The report, incorporating the views of Nadra, says hurried evolution of a mechanism to enable the overseas Pakistanis to exercise their right to vote would lead to controversies.

It said without a proper mechanism in place, enabling the non-resident Pakistanis to vote in the coming general election would compromise the transparency of the election process.The report noted among other things a piece of legislation was required besides setting up of a proper mechanism based on transparency.

It warned that a hurried decision to allow the overseas Pakistanis to take part in voting might compromise the transparency of the polls and in fact prove ‘disastrous’.The ECP and Nadra officials had previously maintained that a decision in haste on the evolution of a mechanism would open room for manipulation of results in many constituencies.

Nowhere does it say that ECP opposes the right of overseas Pakistanis to vote, only that putting in place a fool proof online system in time for elections in only four weeks is not possible. The difference is important – ECP can support the right of overseas Pakistanis to vote, but it can also be impossible to put into place a system to allow such overseas voting in a way that avoids corruption and vote rigging in such a short time.

Rather than creating bad feelings against ECP, The News should report the facts only so that they people can make up their own minds.

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