Sunday, December 05, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz has said that electronic voting machines (EVMs) are not designed for the type of local government elections we have in Pakistan, The News reported Sunday.
Talking to The News, Faraz said that except for nazims, local government elections cannot be held with EVMs. He explained that the EVMs could be used only for direct elections of nazims of tehsils and districts for which there is only one panel of contestants.
Faraz said that in our local government elections there are multiple panels for different types of seats. The EVMs are not designed to deal with such elections, he said.
The minister said that he will personally speak to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, who recently decided to hold local government elections in the provinces using EVM technology.
A few days ago, the Punjab government claimed that it would soon undertake the necessary legislation to amend the Local Bodies Act to include the use of EVMs into law.
It was recently reported that Punjab CM Buzdar has approved amendments to the Local Bodies Act, under which local bodies elections in Punjab will be held via EVMs. The chief minister was quoted as saying that Parliament had already made a law to legalise elections by EVMs and the provincial government would also conduct the necessary legislation to hold elections on EVMs.
On the other hand, the Election Commission demanded that it wanted to see the new draft Local Government Amendment Act by the Punjab government to hold the coming LG polls under EVMs. The ECP has asked the Punjab government to submit the local bodies' draft law by the first week of December to facilitate the commission in evolving new delimitations of constituencies.
Earlier, Punjab Election Commissioner Ghulam Israr Khan had said that if the provincial government did not provide the necessary documents to hold the local bodies elections under new laws, the elections would be held under the old laws within 120 days after December 31, the date when the existing local bodies' term will expire.
The Punjab government’s decision was widely seen as taken in indecent haste without waiting for the outcome of the Election Commission of Pakistan’s deliberations on the matter.
The News recently reported about the constitution of three high-level committees by the Election Commission of Pakistan to assess the practicality of using the EVM system in the next general election.
Sources in the ECP had told The News that although the commission was trying, it might not be possible to switch over to the electronic voting system in such a hurry. "It took years for other countries to even start but we are expected to do it from scratch in a couple of years,” a senior ECP source had said.