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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has admitted having faced slight difficulties in the transmission of relevant information to the returning officers through the Election Management System (EMS), being used for upcoming general polls, in the far-flung areas—but insisted that the said system has not failed.

Amidst the reports suggesting a complete failure of the ECP’s much-hyped EMS, the poll entity on Wednesday said, some additional functions have been added to the EMS to assist the ROs.

“However, in the far-flung areas where the problems related to internet connectivity have been experienced, slight difficulties have been faced there in the transmission of the lists of the general polls’ contestants to the ROs by the ECP, provincial, regional and district election commissioners,” the electoral organisation said in a statement.

ECP warns govt employees against political participation in elections

The Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and internet voting, commonly known as i-voting for overseas Pakistanis, were at the forefront of the electoral reforms agenda introduced by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI’s) former federal government through significant parliamentary legislation on the pretext of bringing transparency in the polls process.

However, the former Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government, that succeeded the PTI government, reversed the introduction of the EVMs and i-voting for overseas Pakistanis in the next general polls — a move strongly criticised by several public and political circles.

Last December, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja claimed at an event that the ECP intended to launch pilot testing of EVMs in the next general elections or local government polls - besides working on i-voting for overseas Pakistanis, for which, the CEC said, funds were sought from the then federal government.

But, contrary to this claim, in July this year, the poll body refused to hold the LG elections in Punjab on EVMs and i-voting for overseas Pakistanis, deciding to ask the provincial caretaker government to amend the related electoral rules —to allow the polls on the manual voting method.

Finally, the apparently controversial EMS is in place in the upcoming general elections and several serious technical glitches have been reported in this system—a scenario that is likely to greatly undermine the credibility of the general elections.

The electoral body’s statement regarding EMS is issued at a time when the ECP is already facing strong criticism from mainstream political parties including PTI, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Awami National Party (ANP) over alleged denial of level playing field to them in the wake of upcoming general elections.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Aslam Tanoli Dec 28, 2023 10:50am
So does it mean they can do whatever they want?
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Parvez Dec 28, 2023 07:27pm
They have only ONE job to do.....and that too they have made a mockery and a mess. This utter failure rests squarely on one man, the head of the ECP ..... his open bias is shameful.
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