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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday that electronic voting machine (EVM) is the only solution to rigging and other problems of elections in the country.

Addressing the parliamentarians of the ruling party and its allies on Wednesday, the prime minister said that the EVM decision was not taken in haste but after a thorough study of the judicial commission report.

He said that the government has been inviting suggestion to the proposed electoral reform law. He regretted that the opposition did not suggest a single proposal, rather opposed the law primarily because it was beneficiary of the existing system. The Election Commission also started propaganda against the EVM whose role has been to ensure free and fair election in the country, he added.

The prime minister said he was unable to understand what the benefit of his party in the EVM was. He said that the opposition is against the reforms in electoral system because it is a product of a corrupt system and knows that the EVM would abolish fake votes and end rigging by lower staff.

The prime minister said that a society that had morality cannot be destroyed even by atomic bombs and in this regard he referred to the stance of Japan. “If you don’t have the moral strength, you can’t do justice, you can’t bring the powerful under the rule of law, it’s not possible until the elections are free and fair,” he said. He said that in Western countries democracy functions on morality.

He said that all the elections after 1970 have been controversial and deplored that the governments have been unable to ensure free and fair elections.

He said that when a party comes to power, it has all the resources and power to bring about reforms in the electoral system but this was not done despite controversy in every election.

The prime minister also recounted that how his party had to stage 126-day sit-in to get his voice heard as the then government had not listened to their demand to open four constituencies. We wanted four constituencies opened so that the next election could be held transparently, he added.

He said after four constituencies were opened through a court order, rigging was found in all of them. He said that the then government has not undertaken a single reform in the light of the judicial commission’s finding. He said that then again there was controversy.

The prime minister said everyone knows what happened in the Senate elections, there were video clips how the votes were bought but nothing was done by the Election Commission. He said that his party raised voice against corruption in the Senate and said that the Senate election should be held through open ballot but the opposition opposed the government suggestion.

The premier added that this time, the Supreme Court stated that there should be verifiable elections but the opposition opposed it, knowing that money is used in secret ballots.

The prime minister also stated that his sole purpose of coming into politics was to make Pakistan a ‘welfare state’ and to provide justice on the basis of moral strength.

He added that the concept of “Naya Pakistan” in fact was that Pakistan was created for a purpose and that was read by the founding father and explained.

He also spoke about the welfare state concept presented by Allama Iqbal that how a country could stand on the principles of Islam.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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