Claims of Rs150 bllion expense on EVMs not true: Shibli Faraz

Dunya News

Shibli faraz said Elections Act 2017 clearly states that electronic voting machine can be used.

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Federal Minister for Science and Technology Senator Shibli Faraz has said that the law is clear that the 2023 election will be held through Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and rejected the claims of Rs150 billion expense on EVMs.

Speaking exclusively in Dunya News program “Ikhtalafi Note”, he said that it is up to the Election Commission Pakistan (ECP) to decide which machine to use, adding that EVM can also be used in by-elections, while India started using EVMs long ago.

The minister said that the PPP and PML-N have not even talked about the use of technology till date but the government led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has taken practical steps.

Shibli Faraz went on to say that the law is clear that the election of 2023 will be held through EVM, adding that now it is the job of the ECP to implement as this should have started from 2017.

“The ECP will now have to start the process, he said adding that the machines have been made according to the parameters given by the ECP.

The minister further said that the Elections Act 2017 clearly states that electronic voting machine can be used and the law has been passed now. The ECP should release tender for the machines. “We have manufactured the 90 machine in a day and if the institution tries, 60,000 can be manufactured in a month.”

EVMs will help do away with practices of fake votes: PM

On Thursday, while addressing the launching ceremony of a portal to help the expatriates get digitally verified their power of attorney, PM Imran Khan said that electronic voting machine is working all over the world and will help to do away with the practices of fake votes.

Secondly, he said the legislation on the use of EVM in elections was also made possible as NADRA made it easier to ensure election using the latest technology.

He said as the technology had changed the world altogether, its non-usage would be nothing but a silly approach.

He recalled that the Election Commission in 2008 and a judicial commission in 2015 had also recommended the use of EVM to ensure holding a transparent election.

Joint session passes bill on use of EVMs

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government managed to get the Elections (Amendment) Bill 2021 passed by a joint sitting of Parliament with a narrow margin of 221 votes against 203.

The bill on the use of EVMs was earlier deferred at the request of Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan but was later put up for a vote.

Under this bill, two amendments had been proposed in the Election Act of 2017 which were related to the use of electronic voting machines in elections and giving the right to vote to Pakistanis living abroad through internet. After the bill was passed, the opposition tore up copies and walked out of the house.

According to the bill, the Election Commission of Pakistan shall, with the technical assistance of NADRA and any other authority or agency, enable overseas Pakistanis in prescribed manner subject to secrecy and security to exercise their right to vote during the general elections.

The bill also authorizes the ECP to procure electronic voting machines for casting of votes in general elections.