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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Senator Syed Shibli Faraz Thursday said that it is the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold the next general elections through Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), which is vital for ensuring transparent, free, fair, and credible elections in the country.

“The EVM shown to the ECP by his ministry was just a model or an idea. Now, it is the prerogative of the ECP to select EVM either the locally-manufactured or imported one,” said the minister, while talking to media persons, here on Thursday.

The EVM was demonstrated everywhere successfully without developing any glitches. Opposition parties were invited repeatedly to bring their technical persons but they rejected the EVM without examining it, he added. The minister said, opposition parties were repeatedly requested to check the EVM and give their feedback to make it more viable.

“We have tried our best to include opposition in this process as they are also the stakeholders but they criticised the EVM even without knowing and checking it,” he said. The opposition was interested in old election process to continue with all possibilities of rigging and electoral fraud through which they won the elections in the past.

He again asked the opposition parties to give their suggestions to the ECP regarding the EVM for improvement, if they want to make the electoral process of this country transparent and non-controversial. He said ECP can respond to the reservations of opposition parties regarding the EVM.

The minister said that the EVM offers solutions to all such issues, which make the election controversial. Replying to a question, he said that the EVM is not connected with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and therefore, there is no reason to hack it.

He further said that it does not need even electricity as it run with battery, which could run for longer period than the polling time. Replying to another question, the minister said that if someone steal it, then it is a separate matter, otherwise, there is no question of wrongdoing in it.

The processes involved from the start of the polling process to compilation of results will be executed in a short time through this technology. Since the legislation has passed, this is the responsibility of the ECP to select the most viable EVM for conducting elections.

The EVM can be locally manufactured or imported as per the ECP decision, he said. He said that the government as well as the Ministry of Science and Technology is ready to extend every kind of facilitation in this regard. “Ensuring rigging free and non-controversial elections in the country is a national cause for which we are ready to support the ECP,” he said.

Faraz hoped the ECP would fulfill its responsibility and enhance its capacity as the whole electoral system will witness a transitional phase. The ministry has given demonstrations on the EVM in the provincial assemblies as well as the parliament and taken all the stakeholders into confidence.

Despite the fact, Prime Minister Imran Khan invited opposition parties on the floor of the house to play their role in this process but they adopted the policy of criticism for the sake of criticism. “Our government has fulfilled the promise of giving the right to vote to the 90,00,000 overseas Pakistanis,” he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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