Imran fears PDM, 'establishment' don't want free, fair elections

Says it is 'obvious' why ECP is opposed to EVMs


News Desk July 08, 2022
PTI Chief Imran Khan addressing a rally in Sheikhupura on July 07, 2022. Photo: Facebook/ImranKhanOfficial

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday expressed his reservations over the intentions of the coalition government and the “establishment” to conduct free and fair elections.

Sharing a report by a local media agency on his official Twitter handle, the ousted premier said that the findings of the Pattan report made it “obvious” why the government and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) opposed the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the upcoming polls – a policy the previous PTI government had tried to push through.

In its report, Pattan - a not-for-profit organisation - claims that the "use of EVM may eliminate 130 out of 163 poll rigging means" in the country.

"I am afraid neither the PDM [Pakistan Democratic Movement], who have perfected the art of rigging over the years want free and fair elections, nor does our establishment," he added.

It is pertinent to note that Imran Khan has also previously said the "status quo" was against the EVMs to "manipulate elections through getting opposition votes rejected".

The tweets by the PTI leader came despite the ECP's statements earlier this morning that declared the PTI chief’s allegations against its chief election commissioner (CEC) “baseless”.

Read EVM debate

Despite reservations expressed by the opposition parties and the electoral watchdog, the then PTI government had bulldozed the EVMs bill in the parliament last year and claimed that these machines would ensure transparent polls while the opposition had expressed concerns over potential rigging through the machines.

Moreover, President Dr Arif Alvi had returned without his approval a bill that sought to reverse the changes made in the election laws by the previous PTI regime on the use of EVMs and i-voting for overseas Pakistanis, terming the proposed legislation as “regressive”.

However, the National Assembly had passed the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022 – removing the use of EVMs and effectively disallowing overseas Pakistanis from voting in the next general polls.

The bill was passed with a majority vote, with only MNAs belonging to the GDA opposing it.

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