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ISLAMABAD: Science and Technology Minister Shibli Faraz Wednesday said the government would invite the opposition parties to examine Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), prepared by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), adding criticism for the sake of criticism is simply ‘incurable’

Talking to media, he said: “The very first task Prime Minister Imran Khan gave me, after I was assigned this ministry, was to complete EVMs’ preparation, and we would leave no stone unturned to ensure that the next elections are held through these EVMs.” Every election results in unending controversies and this has to end, he said.

“We have seen that in every general election, the votes of up to three per cent registered voters are rejected. The role of electoral staff is also not very commendable. There are too many shortcomings in the manual voting system that have been removed in the EVMs,” Faraz said.

“We have minimised human involvement and paved way for technology to hold free and fair elections,” the minister said.

An EVM operates without Internet and Bluetooth and cannot be hacked, he added. The electronic voting procedure would be backed by a paper trail system in the general polls to tally the election results, he added.

Using the EVMs, the result of any general election could be declared in 15 to 20 minutes, he said.

The price of locally-made EVMs would be lesser than the imported ones, Faraz mentioned, adding that the number of the EVMs could be increased in six to seven months.

“The EVMs have been prepared keeping in view the requirements of the Election Commission of Pakistan. The ECP gave us a list containing around 58 requirements for the EVMs to fulfil. The EVMs that we have prepared fulfil all these requirements. If the ECP wants any modifications in the EVMs, we will surely comply,” he said.

The EVMs would be put up for demonstration in Parliament, provincial legislatures, universities, bar councils, chambers of commerce and other places, he said.

“All the stakeholders would be taken into loop and the EVMs would be introduced after mutual consensus,” Faraz added.

Later, the officials of MoST gave a demonstration of EVMs’ working to a visiting delegation of Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development And Transparency (PILDAT).

“Government intends to shift to technology because technology is apolitical and is the need of the hour. The introduction of technology will give validity to the winner’s success. Thus, the electronic voting machine is a solution to many issues in the electoral process,” Faraz told the visiting delegates.

Members from PILDAT included its President Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Projects Manager Amna Kausar and Projects Consultant Jawdat Bilal, says a handout.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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