Prime Minister Imran Khan said that elections results should now be accepted by all contestants, a statement that comes after he witnesses a detailed demonstration of a new locally-made electronic voting machine (EVM).
In a tweet on Sunday, the prime minister said: "Inspecting Pakistani-made electronic voting machines by our Science & Technology Ministry." He added, "Looks like finally we will have elections in Pakistan where all contestants will accept the results."
The premier appreciated the efforts of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Shibli Faraz, and his team. "Congratulations to Shibli Faraz and his team," he remarked.
EVM prototype developed
In May, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad presented the prototype of the EVM at the Parliament House.
He said that identification of the voter would be on the basis of the national ID card and it would be verified by data provided by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).
He stated that the prototype was also used in India to ensure transparency in the electoral process, while in Pakistan political parties refused to accept the results.
The information minister said that there would be two records created through the use of EVM: a paper record and an electronic record. He said the result cannot be manipulated since a piece of paper will be printed in addition to it being recorded electronically.
Fawad said that the system did not employ the use of the internet due to concerns of hacking.
R&D Lab Head Ahsan Malik, who developed the machine, said that there were two parts to the voting process through EVMs. The first is the verification process where any voter with an ID card is verified through a thumb or a fingerprint as a valid voter, he said.
After that, they will go to the machine and press the button for their candidate which would save the vote on the backend, he said. A ballot paper will also be printed with the favoured candidate's symbol and it will drop into the ballot box, he said.
No paper is going in to the hand of the voter. They just have to press the button on their favoured candidate and the whole process takes a maximum of 30 seconds, Malik stated.
Opposition's stance on EVM
Earlier, the alliance of the opposition parties, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), had rejected the government's electoral reforms, which include use of EVMs in the election process.
PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, in a joint press conference, had said that the PDM rejects the government's one-sided electoral reforms ordinance, including the voting machines, and terms it as pre-poll rigging.
They said that such decisions cannot be made by one individual. The opposition leaders maintained that the sensitive process of electoral reforms is undertaken with the will and confidence of the entirety of the nation.
Govt blames opposition
The PTI-led government had blamed the opposition for not supporting its electoral reforms and use of EVMs in the next elections. It urged opposition parties to set aside their political differences and sit with the government to make the electoral process fair and ensure transparency in the elections by using the EVMs.
The government had on several occasions stressed the need of making use of the EVMs, saying there is no harm in adopting the technology for corruption-free polls.