time Monday May 17 2021
Web Desk

Science ministry puts electronic voting machine on display at Parliament House

Web Desk
The electronic voting machine installed at Parliament House. Photo: Press release

The Ministry of Science and Technology has put an electronic voting machine on display at the Parliament House so the parliamentarians and the members of the media can view the much-debated machine.

A press release issued by the National Assembly Secretariat said that the machine has been installed at gate number 1 of the Parliament House.

The statement said that a technical officer will be available near the machine to answer any questions that the parliamentarians and the media may have regarding it. They can also view the machine to understand its functions and usefulness.

Read more: President Alvi underscores importance of e-voting for electoral reforms in Pakistan

"The machine has been put on display on the advice of Prime Minister Imran Khan," said the statement. 

PM Imran Khan for electronic voting

Last month, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry demonstrated to PM Imran Khan how an electronic voting machine (EVM) works. 

After seeing the demonstration, PM Khan said that Pakistan’s democratic and electoral process can no longer afford a system that is questioned and the public confidence in it is shaken.

He spoke about the importance and need for an electronic voting system, saying that in light of past experiences, introducing such a system will make the electoral process transparent, secure and impartial.

Read more: Shahbaz Sharif rejects govt's proposal to use electronic voting machines in next elections

PM Khan had instructed that efforts should be intensified to equip the proposed EVMs with modern security features and the experience of developed countries should be taken into consideration.

Chaudhry, in his briefing, demonstrated the voting procedure using an EVM and various features of the machine developed by the Comsats and the National Institute of Electronics.

The PM was told that with the help of the machine where the entire voting process will be completely transparent, the results of the election process will be completely safe and immediately available. 

Opposition dismisses proposal to hold next general elections via electronic voting

Most major Opposition parties have already dismissed the proposed electoral reform being vigorously touted and pursued by Prime Minister Imran Khan: the introduction of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the next general elections.

The Opposition argues that anything that is controlled and operated by others and can be handily used to manipulate electoral results is unacceptable and rejected. They add that they would strongly oppose the introduction of EVMs in the parliament.

Not only has the prime minister championed the use of EVMs but President Dr Arif Alvi has also held frequent meetings to push the use of the voting machines in future elections. They have also been given demonstrations of the machines, manufactured by local state-run institutions. However, none of them has bothered to take any opposition party on board in this important debate.

Read more: FAFEN calls on govt to hold referendum on electronic voting machines, PR systems

“The countries where EVMs have been tried and tested have either already reverted to paper ballots or are going back to the old system for different reasons,” former Speaker and prominent PML-N leader Sardar Ayaz Sadiq told The News when contacted.

He said that during his incumbency as the speaker, two delegations had visited foreign countries to study the EVM system. One of them also included Dr Arif Alvi.

“A financially tied-up country like Pakistan can’t afford billions and billions of rupees to purchase hundreds of thousands of EVMs. Additionally, because of technical problems, the country can’t ensure uninterrupted electricity supply and internet service all over Pakistan to keep the EVMs functional on polling day,” the former speaker had said. “We have to keep in view our resources and capacity.”