ECP turns down request for biometric systems in NA-246 by-polls

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan on Saturday turned down a request by the Sindh Rangers to install biometric systems for identity verification of voters in the April 23 by-polls in Karachi’s NA-246 constituency.

Earlier this week, Rangers had proposed the installation of a biometric verification system and CCTV video surveillance of every polling station in the constituency to ensure “free, fair and transparent” election on April 23.

The paramilitary force had made the request in a letter to the Sindh home department, asking for that NADRA’s biometric verification system be installed at all the 213 polling stations of the constituency in Karachi’s Azizabad.

According to reports, the election commission has now declined the request due to technical limitations and shortage of time.

The Rangers force had also requested the installation of over 1,000 closed-circuit television cameras for video surveillance in NA-246 – a demand that Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah first rejected only to accept it a day later. The chief minister has assigned a senior official to the task.

Electioneering is in full swing in the key Karachi constituency, said to be a stronghold of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the symbolic home of its founder, Altaf Hussain.

The party is being challenged by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), which picked up a sizeable number of votes from the constituency in the 2013 general elections, and old rivals Jaamaat-i-Islami.