Pakistani expats in UAE vote via I-Voting system for first time
ISLAMABAD: In a matter of three clicks, Pakistani expats in the UAE, for the first time, exercised their right to vote for the currently underway by-elections 2018.
The Pakistan government's iVoting system went live three months ago where overseas Pakistanis registered to vote for 11 National Assembly constituencies and 26 Provincial Assemblies. Majority of those who voted said the system was smooth and they faced no hindrance.
Dubai resident Faisal Khan while talking to Khaleej times said that it was great to be able to vote. "I voted online for my constituency and it felt great to be an integral part of my country today".
He also said that the system was superb. "Once I logged in, I went straight to my registered constituency and pressed Vote. In a matter of minutes, my vote was cast," he said.
Sadaqat Hussain, who has been in the UAE for three years and lives in Ras Al Khaimah said that he did not face any problems casting his vote.
"I had registered last month and I was sent an email," he told.
"And within minutes I had voted," he said. "I am thankful to the government for giving us expatriates the chance to be part of this important event," he said.
Not all expats voted however since all constituencies were not open for voting.
Disappointing figures from the Pakistan Election Commission showed that only 7,000 expatriates registered for the online system worldwide.
In the UAE, majority of the 1.3 million Pakistanis are blue-collared workers without access to emails and access to the
A spokesperson for the Pakistan Embassy in Abu Dhabi said that general awareness messages were posted on the embassy and consulate websites as well as all social media channels.
"This was an individual effort and everyone was able to vote after registering," said the spokesperson.
Today's voting is the first such Internet voting option ever given to Pakistanis and despite criticism, the ECP says that the system is foolproof even though it is a pilot project.
Pakistan voted to elect a new government on July 25 but the majority of overseas registered voters who could not travel back home to vote were deprived of their constitutional right.
The online registration procedure began on September 1 and was extended to earlier this month due to poor registration turnout.
Sohail Qureshi, a Dubai resident, said that though he could not travel for the general elections that were held in July he voted now.
"I was very disappointed that I could not vote in July even though I wanted to. But am very happy that I was able to vote today," he said.
"I hope the system works fine and can be used perfectly in the next general elections," he added.