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ISLAMABAD: Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan on Monday said a joint parliamentary committee will be formed to bring consensus on electoral reforms.

Addressing a news conference alongside Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati, he said a motion will be moved in the National Assembly authorising the speaker and the chairman Senate to form the committee.

He said that a joint parliamentary committee had been proposed for negotiations on electoral reforms which would include the members from both sides of aisle.

He said the government would ensure legislation for transparent elections in future and was also ready to talk with the opposition on electoral reforms as well as electronic voting machines (EVMs).

The adviser said opposition parties should tell the nation as to why they are scared of the EVMs.

He said the government had contacted the opposition last week, following the directions of Prime Minister Imran Khan and was ready to take confidence building measures on electoral reforms.

The formation of Joint Parliamentary Committee is the part of these measures and electoral reforms will be ensured through it.

However, the advisor clarified that electoral reforms were the fate of the nation as the government wanted to give a transparent election system to the people.

Dr Awan said that the EVMs had been used in 72 countries, while credibility on these machines increased from 35 percent to 89 percent during the last three elections in Philippine having the population of around 111 million people.

The advisor to the prime minister said that the PPPP government talked about the EVMs in 2009, while the ECP and the previous governments from 2014 to 2016 also deliberated on it.

He said that a parliamentary delegation including PPPP leader Syed Naveed Qamar, the PML-N leader, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, and the then opposition member and incumbent President Dr Arif Alvi also conducted a foreign visit in the past to witness election conducted through the EVMs.

Therefore, he said that it was morally incorrect to oppose the EVMs by the opposition members at this stage.

Dr Awan quoted the section 103 of the Elections Act, 2017 and said the former government itself agreed to consider use of the EVMs in the past and directed the ECP through legislation to proceed in that regard.

He said that the government would now proceed for electoral reforms and use of the EVMs at every cost because more than four years had been wasted.

The advisor also reiterated to fulfill the promise of right to vote for overseas Pakistanis and said the government would ensure it through legislation because it has the majority in the Parliament.

Dr Awan said that economy of the country like other sectors improved due to reforms during the tenure of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Similarly, he said that electoral reforms would be ensured and transparent election system would be introduced in the country.

Speaking on the occasion, Azam Swati said the government is committed to bring a system to hold uncontroversial and fair elections in 2023. He said the government law regarding use of EVMs will be passed from parliament very soon.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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