Claims about new online voting system for overseas Pakistanis are false

NADRA rejected claims about online system for overseas voting

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Claim: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in collaboration with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has developed an online voting system for overseas Pakistanis. 

Fact: The claim about the development of an online voting system  for overseas Pakistanis  is fake, as confirmed by both NADRA and the ECP.

Fact or Fiction?

On 5 April 2022, Facebook user Sheikh Usman Jugnoo shared a graphic which contained text claiming that an online voting system has been developed for overseas Pakistanis by the ECP and NADRA. 

The text on the graphic notes that with the new system, overseas Pakistanis will be able to vote from the comfort of their homes using any internet device. According to the graphic, in order to vote, overseas citizens will require a national identity card for overseas Pakistanis, a machine readable passport and a valid email address. In addition, they must register on this website, www.overseasvoting.gov.pk.

The claim is false. NADRA issued a clarification on 5 April 2022 stating that “a FAKE message is being circulated on social media about Overseas Voting.” In fact, no such message has been shared/issued/published by NADRA.

Responding to a query on Twitter, the government agency clarified that NADRA and ECP have “nothing to do with the website. The Govt of Pakistan does not take responsibility of any misuse of data provided on this website. Please beware of identity theft”. 

On 17 November 2021, overseas Pakistanis were granted voting rights after amendments were approved by the then PTI government and its allies to the Elections Act, 2017.

The proliferation of the false claim could be linked to former prime minister Imran Khan’s call for fresh elections to be held in 90 days after the no-confidence vote against him was thrown out on 3 April 2022. President Dr Arif Alvi dissolved the National Assembly on Khan’s advice, following which Khan was de-notified as the prime minister of Pakistan. On 7 April, the Supreme Court restored the National Assembly and ordered the no-confidence vote to be held on 9 April, which was successful. This paved the way for PML-N leader Shehbaz Sharif to be elected as Pakistan’s new prime minister on 11 April. 

Virality

According to a CrowdTangle analysis conducted by Soch Fact Check, the search term “overseas voting Pakistan” turned up 143 posts on Facebook which received a total of 11,655 interactions between 1 April to 13 April 2022. 

A Google Reverse Image search revealed that the viral image was shared by multiple Facebook users, pages and groups, including here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here, among others.

Soch Fact Check found that the image also made the rounds on social media in 2018, according to a blog post titled, “Overseas Pakistanis Won’t Be Able to Vote in Elections.” A handful of posts carrying the same graphic can be found on Facebook, including here, here and here

Conclusion: The claim about the development of an online voting system for overseas Pakistanis who were granted voting rights in November 2021 is false, as confirmed by the ECP and NADRA. 

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