Thursday, May 26, 2022
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Thursday passed a bill to abolish the former government's election reforms giving overseas Pakistanis the right to vote through i-Voting and electronic voting machines (EVMs).
The development came during the Parliament meeting convened by President Arif Alvi to deliberate on the current economic situation of the country.
The Election Amendment Bill 2022 — which was introduced by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi — was introduced in the National Assembly today.
The NA had bulldozed legislation for use of EVMs through the passage of a bill on November 17, 2021, giving overseas Pakistanis the right to vote in general elections through a voting device introduced by the PTI government.
Speaking at the NA session, Federal Minister of Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar said that holding polls using EVMs in a single day is "impossible".
Tarar said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had also expressed its inability to hold the elections through i-voting and EVMs in such a short span of time, that too without proper homework.
He said two amendments are being brought to revive the Elections Act 2017, enabling the ECP to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections.
The minister dismissed the impression that the amendment was aimed at depriving overseas Pakistanis of their right to vote, adding that Pakistanis living abroad were a "precious asset of the country" and the government does not believe in snatching their right to vote.
Regarding the use of EVMs, the law minister said they are not against the use of technology, but they had concerns about misuse of technology as the Results Transmission System (RTS) had failed in the 2018 elections to favour a particular political party.
Meanwhile, a motion to suspend the rule of sending Election Act Amendment Bill 2022 to the Standing Committee was also passed.
Moreover, the house also approved the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Bill, 2021, formulating a post-retirement procedure for its chairman.
Following amendments were made to the ordinance: