Friday Nov 26, 2021
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has sought funds from the government to mass produce electronic voting machines (EVMs) for the upcoming general elections of 2023.
The ECP wrote a letter to the government for this purpose.
At least 800,000 EVMs will be mass produced for the upcoming general elections. For this, ECP requires a big chunk of money to proceed, The News reported.
In its letter to the government, the ECP also asked for a warehouse to keep the 800,000 EVMs in a secure place.
"ECP looks to develop proper infrastructure for the elections and monitor the entire process without any difficulty. For the development of infrastructure, ECP has requested the government to release the funds as soon as possible," the letter read.
Earlier this week, the federal cabinet formed a ministerial committee to liaise with the ECP to ensure implementation of the recently passed legislation on electoral reforms, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had announced.
At a post-cabinet meeting press conference, the information minister had announced that the next general elections would “surely be held” through EVMs and that overseas Pakistanis would be able to cast their votes.
Earlier this month, the government convened a joint sitting of Parliament, which passed dozens of treasury bills, including the ones about the use of EVMs in the elections and the right to vote to the Pakistanis living abroad.
Chaudhry said that a ministerial committee – comprising Parliamentary Affairs Adviser Babar Awan, Railways Minister Azam Swati, Science and Technology Minister Shibli Faraz, Information Technology Minister Aminul Haq and Attorney-General Khalid Jawed Khan -- had been formed.
The committee, the minister continued, will liaise with the ECP to ensure implementation of the recently passed laws. The committee will finalise all the nitty-gritty on use of the EVMs in the next election such as cost, numbers of machines and others, he added.
Despite the required legislation to hold elections using EVMs going through, the ECP was still not sure if EVMs will actually be used in the next polls, it was reported earlier.
This observation from the ECP had come during a meeting of the members of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice, chaired by PTI MNA Riaz Fatyana.
It took India 20 years and Brazil 22 years to start using these machines, ECP Secretary Omar Hamid Khan had told lawmakers, explaining that it will also take them "a while" to get EVMs up and running.
The ECP official had said there are challenges in using EVMs and they cannot say anything with surety on whether the use of EVMs will be applicable in the next elections or not.
Khan said EVMs would have to go through 14 steps before they can be used in the next general elections. There would be three to four more pilot projects related to the use of the EVMs, he had maintained.
“How many EVMs will there be at a polling station also remains to be figured out,” he had said, adding that the state institution is working to facilitate overseas Pakistanis.
On this occasion, MNA Aalia Kamran raised some very pertinent questions, including how the EVMs would be used in areas without internet.
“[The] people of Balochistan barely go to cast votes. How will they cast a vote on an EVM?” she had asked.