The government insisted on Thursday to move forward with the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and electronic voting in the next general polls, ruling out the possibility of going back on its plan.
The prime minister’s adviser on parliamentary affairs, Babar Awan, said he wanted to clear up the “misunderstanding” that the government would back down from its decision to use EVMs in elections.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan will not give up electronic voting and EVDs, nor will his government,” he told reporters.
“The Supreme Court has delivered a very clear verdict on Internet voting. It would be contempt of court to deny the right to vote to overseas Pakistanis. “
He added that the Pakistan Election Commission (ECP) was the constitutional regulator to organize the polls. “It is his primary responsibility to conduct the elections in accordance with the law. The ECP does not have the power to enforce the legislation.
Awan said legislation is the job of parliament. “If it becomes law, the ECP no longer has the right to oppose it. “
He added that the government listened to everyone, including the ECP, for hours.
“Those who oppose the granting of electronic voting rights to overseas Pakistanis and the use of VPDs should find a way to prevent electoral fraud. “
The councilor argued that 20,000 to 25,000 “false” votes were cast in each constituency.
“I call on the opposition to openly accept EVMs,” Awan said.
Read The Senate panel fails to satisfy members on EVMs
The advisor clarified that the EVMs would be purchased by the ECP, not the government.
“We are not insisting that the ECP use government-made or purchased EVMs. The government will provide funds and the machines would be purchased by the commission. “
The day before, the government had rejected the objections of the ECP on the use of VPDs in the next legislative elections, calling them “unilateral”.
As of Tuesday, the ECP had raised 37 objections to the proposed introduction of EVMs.
The commission, in a document submitted to the Standing Senate Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, warned that the machine was subject to tampering and that its software could easily be modified.
“Those who oppose the use of EVMs are against fair and transparent elections in the country,” Science and Technology Minister Shibli Faraz said at a press conference.
“They [EVMs] is bad news for those who use money and bullying [in elections],” he added.
The minister maintained that neutral arbitrators would be introduced in the 2023 polls in the form of EVMs.
He added that 27 of the 37 objections raised by the ECP were not even related to the commission.
“The opposition can call in international experts to show them the machine to address their reservations.”
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