Wednesday, December 07, 2022

ECP has no favourites nor is it against anyone: CEC Sikandar Raja

CEC says ECP faced criticism over use of EVMs; not opposed EVMs or overseas Pakistanis' right to vote

Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja speaking during a ceremony at the Election Commission of Pakistan on December 7, 2022. — Radio Pakistan
Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja speaking during a ceremony at the Election Commission of Pakistan on December 7, 2022. — Radio Pakistan  

  • CEC Raja terms local body polls as most important for country. 
  • Says commission supports use of technology in electoral process. 
  • He says ECP does not oppose EVMs, overseas Pakistanis' right to vote.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja has said that the Election Commission of Pakistan neither has any favourites nor against anyone. 

The CEC attended a ceremony — National Voters Day — along with four other members organised at the electoral body's office on Wednesday. 

At the occasion, CEC Raja termed the local body elections as the "most important" for the country. "The election commission continues to strive for transparency in the electoral process and has improved the monitoring system." 

"Action was taken against those who tried to create chaos and from workers to party chiefs for violating the code of conduct," the commissioner added. 

The code of conduct, he said, was not implemented before and the provincial governments would change the local government laws, adding that the local elections were carried out with the efforts of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Cantt. 

The CEC further said that the people have gained confidence in elections, the democratic process and the electoral body after the commission took these steps. 

Talking about the use of technology in the electoral process, Raja said that the election commission supports it, however, the technology should be the one that all stakeholders agree on. 

He said that the commission has faced criticism regarding the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs), however, it has not opposed the EVMs or overseas Pakistanis' right to vote. "We cannot carry the electoral process in haste as it might become controversial." 

"The Election Commission is trying to conduct a pilot programme for the use of EVMs in the upcoming by-elections and municipal elections," the CEC said, adding that a firm has been hired for overseas voting.

CEC Raja also said that the commission has set up a project management unit for the use of technology. "The Election Commission, after much research, made recommendations to the senate which were accepted by parliament."

He said that the process of local government elections has been completed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the LG polls will be conducted in Islamabad on December 31 while the second phase of local bodies elections in Sindh will take place on January 15, 2023. Moreover, the polling for local body elections in Balochistan's flood-affected areas will be held on Sunday.