Friday Sep 03, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Amid the ongoing confrontation between the government and Opposition over electronic voting machines (EVMs), senior PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal termed the devices “rigging machines” during a demo presented live on television.
In an episode of Geo News programme Capital Talk, hosted by Munib Farooq, the science and technology ministry Thursday gave a briefing on EVMs in the presence of Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz, PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal and PPP leader Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar.
During a discussion on the government’s electoral reforms, Shibli Faraz said beneficiaries of the obsolete system don’t want the use of EVMs in the next elections.
He said rigging is not possible through EVMs as no vote would be rejected and tampering is not possible with the latest technology. He said the voting machines developed by the PTI government are user friendly and added that ballot papers will also be used along with EVMs in the elections.
Rejecting the minister’s claims of the machines being hack-proof, Ahsan Iqbal said the real problem of the electoral process in Pakistan is not about the law, but the system.
He said the best elections can be conducted even under the existing laws if the state machinery remains neutral.
He said an EVM can start working differently if a chip is changed in it, adding that “these are not EVMs, but rigging machines”.
Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar said the main problem in Pakistan is pre-poll rigging. He said the electables are sent into a particular political party before the elections and asked how this can be stopped.
He said EVMs are also prone to hacking.
Khokhar said pilot projects on EVMs come under the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan, but the government is using these powers.
He said the RTS system malfunctioned in the 2018 elections, and then secret cameras were found during the Senate elections. In such a situation, he asked, how can the opposition trust the government.
Earlier, on Wednesday, the government had insisted that the next elections will be held through electronic voting machines, and legislation for this purpose will be done this year.
Addressing at a press conference here along with Special Assistant to PM on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill, Adviser to Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan had said that the government would complete legislative process for use of EVMs in next elections, i-voting and voting right to overseas Pakistanis before culmination of current year.
“The legislation process would be completed after approval from the Senate or even through a joint session of the Parliament,” he had said.
The adviser had added that said the upcoming general elections in 2023 would be transparent and fair, and complete cooperation would be made with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the purpose.
He had further said that Nadra had also requested for R 2.2 billion, and the government would ensure all available resources for the conduct of free and fair elections.
Babar Awan urged the opposition to show political wisdom and stand with government for ensuring transparent elections.