The National Assembly Standing Committee on Science and Technology on Thursday directed the relevant ministry to arrange a meeting with the representatives of all political parties to build a mutual consensus on the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and observe the possibility of its improvement as well.
The standing committee meeting was held under the chairmanship of member of the National Assembly Sajid Mehdi.
The committee highly appreciated the efforts of COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI) and National Institute of Electronics (NIE), Islamabad for preparation of EVMs in a short span of time.
However, some members of the opposition strongly criticised the introduction of a new electoral system in the upcoming general elections, saying the EVM could have certain loopholes.
They observed that the EVM would create complications for common people, especially old age villagers if they would not be able to operate it.
Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz apprised the committee that EVM is a user-friendly machine and would help stop rigging in future elections.
The weather will not affect it because the chip embedded in the EVM is weather resistant and could not be hacked due to its non-connectivity with the internet.
He continued that the total cost of one EVM is Rs70,000 approximately and would require almost 400,000 EVMs in future general elections.
He requested that the opposition may avoid unnecessary criticism and float suggestions to bring improvements in the EVM.
The committee discussed the pros and cons of various government and private members bills.
Some members requested that the committee may not pass the bills in haste to remove lacunas and to avoid the possibility of overlapping of the existing legislation.
The committee agreed in principle and deferred the bills including ‘The University of Engineering and Emerging Technology Bill, 2020’ (government bill); ‘The National Metrology Institute of Pakistan Bill, 2021’ (government bill) and ‘The National University of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2020’ (moved by MNA Riaz Fatyana) till its next meeting.
The MNAs including Engr Usman Khan Taraki, Ch Shoukat Ali Bhatti, Abdul Shakoor Shad, Sobia Kamal Khan, Dr Mukhtar Ahmad Malik, Zaib Jaffar, Dr Samina Matloob, Khursheed Ahmed Junejo, Sikandar Ali Rahoupoto and representatives of the ministry attended the meeting.
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