Islamabad: A phone app and a database of more than 50 million voters were key weapons in the successful campaign of cricket legend Imran Khan in July 25 general election, though rivals allege Khan also received clandestine aid from Pakistan’s powerful military, reports said on Sunday.
How Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party used the database and the associated app represents a sea change in the antiquated way in which Pakistan’s biggest parties conduct elections, from pre-poll targeting of voters to on-the-day mobilisation of supporters.
PTI was secretive about the technology plan ahead of the poll, fearing rivals could copy it, but several party workers showed how the app transformed their campaign and gave them an edge. The app proved useful in getting supporters to the polls when the government’s telephone data service giving out polling locations suffered problems on the election day.
‘A great impact’
‘The app had a great impact,’ Amir Mughal, tasked with using the app and database Constituency Management System (CMS), to elect Asad Umar, a lawmaker who won his seat in Islamabad and will be Khan’s new finance minister, said.
The ‘confirmed’ PTI voters
The small CMS unit led by Mughal, Umar’s personal secretary, was typical of how Khan’s party set up teams in constituencies across Pakistan to mine the database, identifying voters by household, zeroing-in on ‘confirmed’
PTI voters, tagging them on the app, and ensuring they turned out on election day. So, Khan’s PTI surpassed expectations to scoop about 116 seats of 272 elected members of Parliament, reports said.