Tuesday Aug 17, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz on Tuesday said that consensus has been developed on the use of technology by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Speaking to the media, the federal minister said that ECP authorities asked 75 questions regarding the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), adding that all the answers to all the questions were deemed satisfactory.
He stated that the ECP has expressed its satisfaction over the EVM developed by his ministry.
“The ECP has expressed its satisfaction over the EVM during today’s meeting, however, the commission gave some valuable suggestions regarding the role of the presiding officer”, Faraz said.
He stated that consensus has been developed on the use of technology in the election.
Faraz added: “Since it has been decided that Election 2023 will be conducted through the use of EVMs, we have to decide strategies and timelines so that all processes, including tender for the EVMs, may be initiated after the satisfaction of all the stakeholders."
The minister informed the media that the issue of repeated voting was discussed in the meeting.
Faraz highlighted that if some voter or presiding officer tries to cast vote on EVMs repeatedly, there will be a need to incorporate a strong voter identification system.
He added that although the government is fulfilling all requirements of ECP regarding the manufacturing of EVM, it has prepared to incorporate a voter identification system too.
“If ECP asks us to incorporate voter identification system in the EVMs, the ministry can do it within a week,” the minister stated.
Faraz further stated that the government is employing efforts to involve more technology and reduce human interference in the voting process to prevent rigging.
Responding to a question, the minister said the government has planned to educate the masses through different ways about the utility of technology in the elections.
“The use of EVMs in the election is meant to address all issues which affect the credibility of the results and make the election controversial," Faraz stated.
He added that all stakeholders, including the parliament, opposition parties, ECP, and the masses are being taken onboard on the use of EVMs in the elections.
Regarding testing the EVMs, Faraz stated that they can be tested at any local government election before the general elections.
The federal minister also invited opposition parties and the general public to examine the EVMs and said that the government would make efforts to address their reservations in this regard.
“I am asking the Opposition not to reject it without examining it, [just] for the sake of criticism and [Opposition] should send their technical experts to review its working,” Faraz said.
He added that the Ministry of Science and Technology had prepared a model machine and would accept the decision from the ECP after the examination today.
“ECP is a constitutional institution and the government cannot dictate it”, he said.
Faraz further said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken a revolutionary step for electoral reforms and the introduction of EVMs would change the country’s electoral history.
He said there was nothing secretive about the machine and their only purpose was to bring transparency to the electoral process.
“Even the ECP is opting for technological change for improving the electoral process,” the minister concluded.