Thursday Sep 23, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz said Thursday that “controversies after the elections are detrimental to a country's democracy”.
The minister expressed these views while addressing a press conference regarding the disagreement between the federal government and the Election Commission of Pakistan over the use of Electronic Voting Machines — developed by the Ministry of Science and Technology — in the next elections.
“Rumours are circulating that the government is insisting on the use of EVMs in the elections that it had developed itself,” said Faraz, adding that such misinformation is not beneficial in any way and is just confusing people.
Faraz said that it is "not necessary that the EVMs developed by the government will be used in the elections" and that the ECP is responsible for procuring and purchasing EVMs.
"Therefore, the government will not object to any EVM chosen by the ECP," he said.
“Our government does not want to impose anything,” said Faraz, adding that the government just proved by developing the EVMs that such things can be done in Pakistan as well.
“Having said that, it is clear that we have to conduct the election under the use of technology”, he stressed. “All the major institutions had agreed upon adopting the use of technology for free and fair elections.”
He said it was the ECP that had guided the ministry to develop the EVMs.
“We developed the EVMs within three months and included things in the machines as per the ECP’s requirements,” said Faraz.
He went on to say that the ministry demonstrated the EVMs to the ECP but they formed a technical committee to oppose the machines.
The minister said that the government also invited the Opposition to inspect the machines for their satisfaction.
“Unfortunately, the Opposition didn’t inspect the EVMs and opposed the machines for the sake of opposition,” said Faraz.
He said that "elements that want to benefit from the old system do not want the use of technology" in the elections, adding that the Opposition's objections are "fictional."
"The Opposition has an advantage in sticking to the old system as they can rig the elections through it," maintained Faraz.
The science minister suggested that the ECP should hold meetings with the technical committee on a daily basis and further the process of electoral reforms without wasting time.
While commenting on the ECP's objections to the EVMs, the minister said that the commission claimed that the ministry had not provided it with the "documents" related to the machines.
"We have provided everything to the ECP, except for two," said Faraz, adding that the commission has been asking for the service code and design of the EVMs, which the Ministry of Science and Technology will not provide.