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ISLAMABAD: In what turned out to be a highly embarrassing episode for Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the electoral body Saturday had to delete a video critical of the functioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) just a few hours after it was posted on the ECP’s social media accounts, after facing strong reaction from the federal government.

An apparently embarrassed ECP then tried to pacify the government by saying that the video was posted ‘mistakenly.’

According to details, the ECP posted a video featuring a vlog of a journalist about the EVMs. The video attempted to dismiss the working of EVMs as mere ‘fraud’ and raised questions about their credibility.

This did not go down well with the federal government with senior government officials questioning this move of the ECP at a time when the electoral body is yet to hold deliberations with federal government regarding EVMs.

“How can the ECP post this kind of condemnable content on its social media accounts when the matter of EVMs is yet to be debated by the Parliament? The ECP is yet to be given the demonstration of the working of EVMs and still it has the audacity to dismiss the functioning of EVMs as fraud,” said Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib. “The ECP is a constitutional body and it should work within its limit instead of interfering in Executive’s domain and trying to undermine the efforts of the federal government to make the electoral process credible,” he told the media.

He urged Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja to hold an inquiry into the matter and also issue an explanation.

In response, an ECP spokesperson told Business Recorder that the video was mistakenly shared on Twitter and Facebook by the ECP’s Information Technology (IT) wing that manages the commission’s social media accounts.

“The mistake has been noted and the video has been deleted accordingly,” the spokesperson said.

Later, he resent to the media a press release regarding the EVMs the commission had drafted earlier on Thursday after a top-level meeting.

In the said meeting, the ECP decided to seek from the federal government a demonstration on the functioning of EVMs prepared by the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The meeting also decided to write a letter to the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication to share with ECP the findings of the audit of a Spanish firm into ECP’s pilot projects regarding voting rights to overseas Pakistanis.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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