ISLAMABAD: A sub-committee of the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms has asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to provide a practical demonstration of electronic voting machines (EVM) on November 17 before these can be woven into the country’s electoral laws.
ECP officials on Thursday gave a briefing to the sub-committee on merits and demerits of using EVMs — an idea that the commission wants to implement in the next general elections due in 2018.
The panel, holding its in-camera session, asked the ECP to bring the vendors who have prepared these machines for a practical demonstration in the next meeting scheduled on Monday.
It has also asked ECP officials to come up with a detailed plan that should include the cost to implement electronic voting method and also a time-frame to implement the proposed system.
The ECP official, while sharing examples of countries that have experimented with it, pointed out that a few countries had implemented electronic voting method but they later reverted to the traditional ballot voting.
The sub-committee asked the poll body officials to provide more information on the system before the panel can recommend including the provision in the laws. To introduce EVM and biometric verification of voters, the existing laws would need to be amended.
Zahid Hamid, who heads an 11-member sub panel of the 33-member parliamentary committee, told reporters that the committee will also review the Political Order 2002 in its next meeting to formulate some mechanism for registering a political party.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is leading the main committee which has been working from August 6, 2013, to revamp the electoral system of the country. It received more than 1,200 recommendations of different nature from stakeholders, some were related to changes in the laws and others related to amending the constitution.
The committee had formed a sub-committee comprising senior parliamentarians from different parties with legal back ground to vet these recommendations and come up with a comprehensive package of reforms that may be adopted by the parliament finally.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 14th, 2014.