Pak Poll Body Chief Says Mobile Internet Suspension Won’t Impact Commission’s Work

Amid the suspension of mobile services in Pakistan due to the “deteriorating security situation,” Pakistan’s Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja on Thursday said its Election Management System is not dependent on the Internet and its work will not be affected due to it. Polling for the general elections started at 8.00 am and will continue without any break till 5.00 PM when a total of 128,585,760 registered voters are eligible to cast their votes.

Even when the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had earlier said that internet services would remain functional on the voting day, twin terror attacks that killed at least 30 people prompted the caretaker government “to suspend the mobile services due to the deteriorating security situation.” Speaking with media persons soon after the polling began, CEC Raja told media persons, “Our system is not dependent on it (mobile services). Our system is not independent of the Internet, we have clarified it earlier too. There will be no impact on our preparation because of this.” Introduced for the first time by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the Election Management System (EMS) app will be used for relaying the election results from each polling station to a centralised system where tabulation of all results would be completed.

Two days ago, the ECP Secretary Syed Asif Hussain said the EMS would work even if the internet failed, as returning officers (ROs) would still be able to compile all results offline. More than 60 ROs in remote areas had also been provided with satellite connectivity to keep them connected, he had said.

Meanwhile, hours after the polling began, Internet observatory NetBlocks said in a post on X: “Real-time network data show that internet blackouts are now in effect in multiple regions of #Pakistan in addition to mobile network disruptions; the incident comes on election day and follows months of digital censorship targeting the political opposition.” 

(This report has been published as part of an auto-generated syndicate wire feed. Apart from the headline, no editing has been done in the copy by ABP Live.)

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