Govt wants to steal elections, alleges Iqbal

Says giving voter lists to Nadra instead of ECP will open door to rigging


Our Correspondent June 13, 2021
Former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal. PHOTO: Reuters/FILE

LAHORE:

PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal on Saturday alleged that the incumbent government wanted to “steal” the next general elections by passing the bill on electoral reforms and introducing the electronic voting machine (EVM).

Addressing a press conference at the party secretariat in Lahore, Iqbal said the PML-N government at the time had passed the legislation to amend the election laws in consultation with the opposition parties while the PTI passed the ordinances.

If allowed, then every party will bring its own law to steal elections, he said.

On Thursday, despite the opposition boycotting the session, the government succeeded in passing 21 laws by the lower house of parliament. It also passed two bills on electoral reforms, under which Senate elections would be held through open ballot.

“PTI wants to steal the next general elections by passing the election laws. Electoral laws will close the door to free and fair elections,” he said.

“Giving voter lists to Nadra instead of election commission will open the door to rigging.”

He said electronic voting was exposed to hacking and would give a chance to agencies of the rival states to “exploit this loophole”.

Read EVM to be developed in a month

He said the government wanted to use EVMs to obtain elections results through RTS. If the electronic machine system was successful, the US and UK would all have adopted this method, he contended.

The PML-N leader accused the ruling party of employing “tactics” to win the next polls.

“What does [Information Minister] Fawad Chaudhry know about the voting machine? I am an engineer, I know more about technology. PTI have lost eight [by] elections and they know that now an imminent doom is heading their way which is why they are looking for a back door option.”

Commenting on the issue of giving rights to overseas Pakistanis to vote, Iqbal said “We think anyone living in Paris or London will only know the problems of limited areas and not of the entire country”.

He further said that expatriates were an asset of the country and that a seat should be reserved for them.

He noted that the PTI government had demarcated constituencies on the basis of voter registration rather than population.

“Voter registration is low in the backward areas of the country, which is why they are being excluded from the electoral process. This will benefit the urban and developed areas.”

He termed the 10% raise in the salaries of government employees a “mockery” and demanded an increase of at least 20-25%.

“This government team is responsible for ruining the country's economy. The government had planned a day before the budget that it will hold back its main points and will continue giving mini-budget after mini-budget which will adversely affect the already crushed people of Pakistan.”

They (the government) will increase the prices of electricity and petroleum products, he said.

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