Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has said that the prospective introduction of electronic voting machines (EVMs) would prove to be a revolutionary step of the government to fix the electoral system.
The federal minister expressed the views while addressing a meeting of the cabinet committee on EVMs and I-Voting on Monday.
The committee, headed by Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar, took into consideration the decision of the federal cabinet to finalise the electronic voting machines.
It was decided that NADRA would give a briefing to the committee on I-voting. The committee, he said, would also get a briefing on the steps taken in the light of the report of consultant of the Ministry of Information Technology as well as the upgrading of NADRA systems.
During the meeting, Fawad said the government was taking a leap forward to this effect in order to ensure credibility and transparency in the polling process of the next general elections.
“The use of technology is a pressing need of the hour to hold clean, transparent and fair elections in the country,” he argued.
Fawad said the government would launch a media campaign to sensitize the public about the use of EVMs in the elections.
Pressing the case for the government’s controversial stance on the issue, Fawad said that after a long struggle to find a solution to the longstanding problem endemic to the electoral system and the political battles that ensue following results, the government came up with the idea.
“We have put before the nation a solution to make elections transparent. The defeated party always almost gets up and levels allegations of rigging and irregularities,” he added.
He said that there was no election since 1970 which was not marred by allegations of rigging. The federal minister added that the government would launch a media campaign to mobilize public opinion about electronic voting machines.
Dr Babar Awan said that a prototype of indigenously built EVM has been developed by COMSATS, NIE and NUST under the supervision of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).
“As a result of the tireless work of these institutions, today we are going to take a revolutionary step towards the electronic voting machine," he said.
Referring to India, Awan pointed out that, "Our neighbouring country, which has a population five times larger than ours, has reformed its electoral process through EVMs”.
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He said that currently, the country was at a point where elections were to be held two times in a year and the PTI government was taking important steps to address this challenge.
“Earlier, the use of direct technology with reference to EVM was allowed but the election commission was not empowered enough to undertake the task.
In addition, the committee decided that the Ministry of Science and Technology will convene a special meeting of the committee this week to finalize the EVM in order to ensure the implementation of the cabinet’s decision.
The federal cabinet, in its meeting on May 18, had constituted a committee comprising Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications and Advisor to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs to introduce EVMs and give voting rights to the overseas Pakistanis.
In addition, the cabinet, in its meeting on March 9, directed the advisor to the prime minister on parliamentary affairs to brief the cabinet in progress on introducing the electronic voting machine in elections, to give overseas Pakistanis the right to vote and to hold free fair and transparent and elections.
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