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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was approached against the amendment in Election Act, 2017 for use of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) in the general elections 2023.

The joint session of the Parliament on November 17 passed 33 bills in a single day, including the bill to use EVMs in the general elections 2023.

Saleem Ullah Khan, on Wednesday, filed a petition under Article 184(3) of Constitution assailing the amendment in the Elections Act 2017, and cited Advisor to Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), and the secretary Law and Justice as respondents.

The petitioner contended that the amendments in the laws were never put to any debate and were simply bulldozed the election laws, to enable rigging in the next general elections. He submitted that the illegal amendments in the election law affect the public interest and rights of the entire nation.

The substitution so made could never be rated or called as “amendments” because these are wholly against the spirit of the constitution and the laws. He stated that the law makes clear distinction between an amendment and an entire substitution, adding that the substitutions made are in fact an act of doing away with the original provisions pertaining to the elections.

He submitted that the amendments made are completely mala fide and in contravention of the constitution, and these amendments will open a floodgate of rigging in the elections.

He stated that the cost of the EVMs is much higher than its benefit and these entail huge concomitant cost, ills and risks in aspects of the elections.

The petitioner said that the objections raised by the ECP have been ignored, and the amendments have curtailed and abridged the ECP authority. The substitution made in Section 103 is confusing as it does not explain what follows after the purchase of the EVMs.

The amendment in Section 94 is silent that as to how the overseas Pakistanis will cast their vote from abroad. The NADRA has been made to usurp the jurisdiction, authority and independence of the ECP, said the petition.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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