RTS or RMS: Election Commission’s New Result Announcement System

RTS or RMS: Election Commission's New Result Announcement System

RTS or RMS: How will the Election Commission announce results this time, and how reliable is this new system? Former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s companion, Alima Khan, while speaking to the media last night, relayed Imran Khan’s message, alleging, “The PML-N has hacked the computers from where the election results will come, and they intend to alter the results through them.”

Alima Khan stated, “Imran Khan has received information through his lawyers, and he has emphasized sending this information to other parties and people that the PML-N has hacked the computers from where the results are coming.”

“Their intention is to manipulate the results when they come, so they have instructed (Imran Khan) not to touch the results from ROs without taking them from ARS, because they have hacked the results coming on TV,” she added.

However, while discussing this, the new Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Rauf Hassan, says that we have not received any information regarding this matter so far, but “if Alima Bibi is saying this, then Khan Sahib must have instructed her to spread this message.” He said, “Since this message has not been directly conveyed to us, it would not be appropriate to comment on it.”

He further said, “If Alima Khan is saying something, you should take it seriously.” Responding to Alima Khan’s allegations, the leader of the Muslim League-N, Azmi Bukhari, said, “My advice to them is to talk according to their political understanding. Think for yourself how a political party can hack the Election Commission’s system,” she said.

She said, “Common sense is not present in the people of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.” Regarding Alima Khan’s allegations, the officials of the Election Commission say that all results are prepared in the presence of polling agents and there is no possibility of tampering with them. They say that electoral results are not only sent to the relevant authorities in documentary form but are also posted outside polling stations, making it almost impossible to change the results.

Elections in Pakistan will be held next week, and to compile the results, the Election Commission has arranged software from a private institution, which is named Election Management System (EMS) this time. The insistence of the Election Commission officials is that this system is different from the previous Result Transmission System (RTS). However, it can be said that it is a new form of the Election Commission’s own Result Management System (RMS).

In this regard, BBC Urdu has talked in detail with the officials of the Election Commission who have been involved in the preparation of this new system, which has been called the new form of the old RMS by simplifying the EMS in simple words. According to them, “The result management system RTS prepared by Nadra in the 2018 elections proved to be a complete failure, which has now been abandoned, and now RTS has become a thing of the past.”


RTS or RMS: Election Commission's New Result Announcement System
                    Source -BBC Urdu

Understanding the Different Systems of RTS (Result Transmission System)

The Election Commission officials have highlighted the various aspects of the Result Transmission System (RTS), pointing out that its major flaw was the direct transmission of results to the Election Commission headquarters in Islamabad.

When the results started pouring in from nearly 83,000 polling stations in 2018, it exposed the vulnerability of this system. One reason was its heavy reliance on internet availability. In the new system, priority has been given to arranging results via the Internet. However, in case of internet unavailability, the new system will still function offline.

The Election Commission has already downloaded crucial data and forms onto laptops, ensuring that results can still be entered offline. This process resembles how computerized bills are generated in a “cash and carry” scenario.

If offline transmission is problematic for any reason, all data will be available in an Excel sheet, and results can be organized on it. According to officials, all details regarding candidates and political parties are already available on Excel sheets.

RTS or RMS: Election Commission's New Result Announcement System
Source – BBC Urdu

Currently, a Project Management Unit is operational within the Election Commission. This unit was established a year and a half ago with the aim of modernizing the Election Commission’s operations. To achieve this goal, IT experts have been enlisted in this unit’s services. After February 8, this unit will also delve into newer technologies and mechanisms to enhance election transparency.

Mohammad Saad Ali heads this project in the Election Commission. He explained during a Radio Pakistan interview that “the unit consists of an Election Management System, a Data Center, and a Control Room.” He further added that the unit has purchased hardware to arrange results. As per officials, Pakistan is not yet prepared for electronic voting machines, and globally, fewer countries are experimenting with them. Parliament has also postponed legislation regarding this matter.

According to the Election Commission spokesperson Nadeem Haider, government employees, prisoners, disabled individuals, and those on election duty could cast their votes through postal ballots until January 22, whereas election staff could post their votes within three days of receiving the letter.

According to Saad Ali, once the Presiding Officer sends the results, the Returning Officer will have the entire system, and no one can alter the results. He mentioned that “the monitoring cell is working diligently. Our monitoring officers are present in every constituency. The monitoring room is operational.”

According to election laws, the media cannot announce any results until the first hour after polling ends. Moreover, by two in the morning, all Presiding Officers must submit their results to the ROs. Officials assure that results will be announced by ten in the morning on the following day.

Nighat Sadiq is rendering services in the Election Commission. During a Radio Pakistan program, she stated, “Now, double voting is impossible. We have a proper system in place.” She added that before 2017, there was no computerized electoral roll, but now, there is no confusion.

A senior official from the Election Commission informed BBC that “there isn’t much noise globally regarding delays in election results, but in Pakistan, such delays are often interpreted as foul play.”

According to him, “In many constituencies, there are still possibilities of such delays.” He emphasized that no system is 100% accurate, and this time too, there will likely be multiple complaints. However, it’s reassuring that even if the new system for arranging electoral results fails, it won’t affect the outcome because online and Excel sheet arrangements take time but ensure accuracy.


  • Note : This article was published by an BBC Urdu and only represents the author’s personal opinion. if there is any infringement. please contact us to delete or feedback.

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