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ISLAMABAD: Three days after ECP expressed its concerns during a demonstration given by Science and Technology Minister Shibli Faraz, Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday emphasised on responding to unwarranted criticism against Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with facts.

He shared these views while presiding over a high-level meeting on EVMs, according to an official statement.

The PM directed to formulate an awareness campaign to sensitise people and stakeholders about the utility of EVMs, the statement added.

The PM was informed about the Judicial Commission's proposed legal amendment regarding the use of EVMs, it said adding that the meeting was also informed that steps like the use of EVMs were aimed at ensuring transparency in the elections.

Electronic Voting Machines: ECP-govt divide becomes sharper

Earlier on Tuesday, a clear divide between federal government and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) became visible on the issue of EVMs after ECP formed a Technical Evaluation Committee to review EVMs "from every aspect" as ECP officials raised questions and expressed concerns on the functioning of EVMs during a related briefing given by Shibli Faraz.

On the other hand, Faraz claimed before media that ECP "expressed satisfaction" on the EVMs prepared by his ministry.

However, an ECP statement issued after the demonstration given by Faraz said Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, ECP members and other senior officials raised questions and concerns during the briefing.

The ECP was briefed on different functions of EVMs including its software, hardware and other features.

The ECP officials also conveyed to the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) officials that relevant laws needed to be amended for the introduction of EVMs in general polls.

The MoST team assured the ECP that it would improve EVMs in the light of recommendations made and concerns raised by ECP, the statement said.

The ECP said its Technical Evaluation Committee would review the EVMs from every aspect and submit its report to the electoral body.

PM tests electronic voting machine

The ECP also announced to hire the services of technical consultants to assist the commission on issues like EVMs, internet voting (i-voting) for overseas Pakistanis, preparation of voter lists and related issues.

However, Faraz told a different story. He told the media after the EVMs demonstration that CEC "congratulated us on the preparation of EVMs."

The ECP, he said, expressed its satisfaction on the EVMs prepared by MoST.

He said the ECP officials asked some 75 questions related to the functioning of EVMs all of which were answered by the MoST team.

The government and ECP, in principle, have decided to use technology in general elections 2023, Faraz said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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