- NA passes bill which seeks to remove use of EVMs as well as disallows overseas Pakistanis from voting
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly, Thursday, passed “The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022” to block the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the general elections along with barring overseas Pakistanis from voting.
However, the law would allow conducting pilot projects in the bye-elections by using I-Voting and EVMs.
“The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022” was presented in the House by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi and was passed with a majority vote. Only members of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) opposed the bill.
Before tabling the bill, Abbasi presented a motion to allow for tabling the bill for passage after introducing without sending it to the relevant Standing Committee of the National Assembly. Therefore, the House passed the bill with a majority after introducing and tabling it without sending it to the concerned Standing Committee for deliberations.
Now, the bill will be sent to the Senate for its approval.
Speaking on the occasion in the House, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar rejected the impression that the amendment is aimed at depriving overseas Pakistanis of their right to vote.
He said overseas Pakistanis are a precious asset of the country and the government does not believe in snatching their right to vote.
Regarding use of EVMs, the minister said we are not against the use of technology, but we have concerns about misuse of technology as Results Transmission System had failed in the last general elections to favour a particular political party. He said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had also expressed its inability to hold elections through I-Voting and EVMs in a short span of time and without proper homework.
He said two amendments are being brought to revive the Elections Act, 2017, enabling the ECP to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections.
Under the amendment in Section 94 of the Election Act, 2017, the Commission may conduct pilot projects for voting by Overseas Pakistanis in bye-elections to ascertain the technical efficacy, secrecy, security, and financial feasibility of such voting and shall share the results with the government, which shall, within 15 days from the commencement of a session of a House after the receipt of the report, lay the same before both Houses of the Parliament.
Under Amendment in Section 103 of the Election Act, 2017, the ECP may conduct pilot projects for utilization of EVMs and biometric verification system in the bye-elections.
Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Raja Riaz Ahmed has said the Assembly should complete its tenure and elections should be held on time.
Responding to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s remarks, he assured that the opposition will play its positive and constructive role in running affairs of the House.
Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, while speaking on the floor of the House, congratulated Raja Riaz Ahmed for becoming Leader of the Opposition.
He assured the Leader of the Opposition of his government’s full cooperation in running the business of the House in an amicable manner.
The prime minister said the treasury benches will pay utmost attention to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition by burying the bad traditions of the past.
Responding to a calling attention notice, Minister of State for Interior Abdul Rehman Khan Kanju assured the House to make every possible effort for the maintenance of government accommodations in Sector G-6 and F-6 of Islamabad.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022