Thursday, June 17, 2021
ISLAMABAD Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that electronic voting was the only way to ensure transparency and prevent rigging in the elections, a statement from the PM Office said Thursday.
The premier's comments came during a meeting in Islamabad, where he was briefed on the use of electronic voting machines in the electoral process.
Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz, Leader of the House in the Senate Senator Dr Shehzad Wasim, Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib, and Advisor to the Prime Minister Babar Awan were present during the briefing.
The prime minister was given a detailed briefing on the progress made so far in the use of the electronic voting machine and legislation in this regard.
PM Imran Khan reiterated his commitment to ensure transparency in the use of electronic voting machines in the electoral process and fulfill all constitutional requirements.
The premier said that the incumbent government was committed to ensuring transparency in the electoral process of the country.
"Overseas Pakistanis are an asset of the country, they must be involved in the election process [...] electoral reforms, electronic voting, and voting process for overseas Pakistanis should be completed soon," he instructed the concerned officials.
On June 10, the House had passed the Elections (Second Amendment) Bill which pertains to fair, free and transparent election through the utilisation of technology and modern gadgets.
The bill is also aimed at granting voting rights to the Overseas Pakistanis which may only be possible by vesting exclusive authority in ECP with the technical assistance of NADRA and other agencies.
Amendments were sought in section 94 and 103 of the Election Act, 2017 to achieve the aforesaid objectives.
The Opposition parties have rejected the government's electoral reforms, with PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal, last week, saying the government had passed two laws in the National Assembly that paved the way for it to "rig" the next elections.
Last month, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) had also rejected the government's "one-sided" electoral reforms, which include the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs), and announced a fresh wave of anti-government protests.
"PDM rejects the government's unilateral electoral reforms ordinance, including the voting machines, and terms it as pre-poll rigging," PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had said, as he addressed a press conference alongside PDM leaders.
In this regard, the Election Commission of Pakistan — which is responsible for holding transparent elections — should call a meeting of all political parties to take a unanimous decision on reforms, he had said.
Information Minister Chaudhry, speaking on the floor of the National Assembly on June 7, had said the Opposition had refused to talk to the government over electoral reforms.
"When we speak to them about electoral reforms, they ask us to first [amend] National Accountability Bureau (NAB) laws," he had said.