Election Commission of Pakistan came under heavy criticism late last night as the results of General Election 2018 were delayed by hours after an online system — that was to be used to relay results — crashed as the entire nation was waiting for election results.
For those who don’t know, ECP had developed RTS (Results Transmission System) to relay polling results to central command (ECP headquarters) through a mobile app.
After votes were counted, presiding officers were supposed to submit the results through a mobile app to the Election Commission.
However, as with the government websites/servers, the system got overwhelmed with a sudden spike in traffic as simultaneous results started to flow around 9 PM, according to the ECP.
Not to mention, around 85,000 polling stations were to send the polling results to ECP through RTS. Results from around 25,000 polling stations were relayed when the crash happened and remaining results never made it to the ECP headquarters.
As per media reports, presiding officers were bound to use RTS — as per law — and they had to wait until the system could come back online.
When results got delayed by hours, ECP decided to override the system around 1 AM and asked presiding officers to manually share the results with returning officers.
Consequently, the polling results were delayed, causing serious doubts in the minds of many, particularly those who were losing the race.
As per media reports, NADRA helped ECP in developing the system but it remains unclear whether the system was adequately tested before being launched.
Just in case if you are wondering, a sound, reliable mobile app to relay 85,000 results — all at the same time — shouldn’t be an issue at all. However, due to gross incompetence, a dark cloud has now fallen over the entire elections.
It merits mentioning here that ECP spent around Rs. 21 billion on the entire election, making it one of the most expensive elections in national history.
At the time of reporting, the Election Commission website was also not functioning.
We just hope that government departments will start hiring professionals to deploy their IT infrastructures — which are solid, reliable, hack-proof and DDoS proof.