- Over 7 million overseas Pakistanis would be able to vote when system is introduced
- Says Electronic Voting Machines are important in conducting a free and fair election
(Karachi) As part of its efforts to involve overseas Pakistanis in the voting process, Prime Minister Imran Khan has stressed the need for early completion of electoral reforms, including the implementation of the electronic voting system (EVM).
PM, while chairing a meeting on Thursday, said that the government's priority is to do everything possible to incorporate the Pakistani diaspora in the country's electoral process.
"Overseas Pakistanis are the country's asset and their involvement in the election process could play an important role," he said.
Imran maintained that the only option to conduct free and fair voting in the election process is the use of EVMs.
He pointed out that the PTI government is working to introduce electoral reforms in the country that would ensure transparency in the democratic process.
Imran directed the relevant officials to fulfill all legal requirements at the earliest.
On the occasion, the prime minister was briefed about the progress on EVMs and legislation.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz recently said that the introduction of electronic voting will enable more than 7 million overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes.
Proposed electoral reforms
Earlier, highlighting the proposed reforms in the electoral process, Adviser to Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan said that 49 sections in the Elections Act 2017 are being introduced, deleted, or amended.
He said that Section 103 is being amended according to the prime minister's vision to enable the use of EVMs in the elections to resolve the issue of rigging. He added that this will be the first big reform in Pakistan's history.
Besides, he said, Section 94 would also be amended to extend the right of vote to overseas Pakistanis.
A third proposed reform is related to political parties and has two components to it. The first is that, according to Section 202, political parties should have a strength of 10,000 members in order to get registered.
Secondly, a new section, Section 213(A), is being introduced which would make it mandatory for political parties to hold annual conventions where people could speak up and give their comments on the performance of the party and its leaders.
Awan said that the fourth reform is related to complaints about polling staff and officers.
He said that a provision is being introduced in Section 15 which would allow for the right to challenge the appointment of a polling agent or officer within a period of 15 days if anyone had reservations about it.
Another reform would be for electoral rolls to be prepared on the basis of registration data with NADRA, he stated.