- Former minister says if state machinery remains neutral, free and fair elections can be conducted even under the existing laws
- Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz rejects claims, says beneficiaries of the obsolete system are resistant to change
Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ahsan Iqbal has said that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) can start working differently if a chip is changed, terming them as rigging machines.
During a TV programme aired on a private channel Friday, Iqbal maintained that a major hindrance in the electoral process in Pakistan is not about the law, but the system.
He stated that if the state machinery remains neutral, free and fair elections can be conducted even under the existing laws.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party leader Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar said pre-poll rigging is the biggest problem in the country. He claimed EVMs are also prone to hacking.
Khokhar said pilot projects on EVMs come under the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan, but the government is using these powers.
Rejecting the claims by the opposition parties, Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz said that the beneficiaries of the obsolete system do not want the use of EVMs in the next elections.
He said rigging is not possible through EVMs as no vote would be rejected and tampering is not possible with the latest technology.
He said the voting machines developed by the PTI government are user friendly and added that ballot papers will also be used along with EVMs in the elections.
Earlier, alliance of the opposition parties, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), had rejected the government's electoral reforms, which include the 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.
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.