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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader and former Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, said that introduction of the Electronic Voting System (EVS) in the country was not the job of the government or the parliament, and it was prerogative of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Talking to reporters after appearing before Accountability Court in connection with the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) case, Abbasi said that the EVM would create lots of problems and ambiguity. The country does not need electoral reforms, Abbasi said, adding, the country needed only one reform that is running the country as per the Constitution.

The country which cannot properly run paper system cannot run an electronic system, he said. “There is no need of electoral reforms but stop stealing of elections and lodging of false cases,” he said.

He said that those who were talking about Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) or electoral reforms should install a camera in the Accountability Court, so that the accountability process was watched.

To a question about the PML-N demand to handover ballot box to the army after Karachi elections, he said that Miftah Ismail, the PML-N candidate should have used the word ‘Rangers’ instead of the army.

Ismail sought the help as Sindh police have become a party and we feared that the Sindh police may enter the ECP building for changing votes, he said, adding that his party just wanted army supervision.

The PML-N President, Shehbaz Sharif, neither made the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) nor broke it. The PDM is the name of a movement and it still exists, he said.

Abbasi said that the deadly coronavirus was spreading rapidly in the country but the government has so far purchased not a single dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The PML-N leader said that every participant of the NCOC wear one or two masks in their meetings but failed to implement coronavirus Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) such as wearing masks and social distancing. Earlier, Tiger Force was introduced for implementation of the SOPs and few days ago, the Prime Minister said that the army will assist the civil administration in implementation of the SOPs but both initiatives bear no fruits, he said.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan visited a market in the city and no one was present in the market and commodities were available there at reasonable rates and the Prime Minister returned home happily. He said that the fact was that the Prime Minister stated that he would himself monitor prices of daily use commodities during Ramazan but the highest increase in prices of daily use commodities of 11.1 percent was recorded in the month of April during the last 20 months.

Abbasi asked the Prime Minister that please does not monitor anything as whatever commodity, the Prime Minister monitors, its price goes up. In the 73 years history of this country, it never happened that the price of flour has doubled, he said.

He said that no action has been taken with respect to increase in sugar prices in the country. We were told that a case has been made against PTI leader Jahangir Tareen, he said, adding that now the officer who was investigating Tareen case was removed from his post, and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) told the court that it had mistakenly included name of Tareen in the case.

Abbasi said that prices of electricity had gone up 200 percent in three years of the PTI tenure.

Earlier, he appeared before Accountability Court-II judge Muhammad Azam Khan in LNG case against him and others.

The court marked attendance of Abbasi and allowed him to leave.

Abbasi’s counsel Barrister Zafarullah Khan also appeared before the court after recovery from the Covid-19.

During the hearing, the court recorded statement of prosecution witness, Allah Nawaz, an assistant economic advisor of the Finance Division but did not complete recording of Nawaz’s statement. The court summoned witness, Nawaz and another witness, Abdur Rasheed, director gas during the next hearing to be held on May 18.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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