Pakistan’s information minister reiterates incumbent government’s commitment to securing voting right for overseas citizens
Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Monday reiterated that electronic voting machines will help in countering allegations of rigging, adding that it was time to introduce a mechanism that instill public confidence in the electoral process.
Addressing a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Internet Voting at the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs in Islamabad, he said the government was working on plans to remove public concerns about EVMs. The government is also committed to granting overseas Pakistanis the right to vote from their place of residence, he said. Presently overseas Pakistanis are required to return to Pakistan if they wish to vote in elections.
Recalling that all elections in Pakistan since 1970 had faced rigging allegations, he said the time had come to develop a mechanism that corrected this. “Opposition parties should sit with the government and discuss the issue of electoral reforms,” he reiterated, claiming that the government had prepared EVMs that were in compliance with requirements of the Election Commission of Pakistan.
The EVMs prepared by the Science and Technology Ministry, he said, would tally votes digitally while also providing paper records to verify the accuracy of votes. If the government and opposition can agree on their use, he said, the machines could be easily rolled out in the next general elections.
Adviser to the P.M. on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan, meanwhile, claimed that the introduction of EVMs would boost transparency in elections.
The meeting’s participants, per a statement, discussed several issues related to electoral reforms, including the launch of an awareness campaign to encourage public ownership of EVMs and granting overseas Pakistanis the right to vote from their place of residence. They also reviewed objections raised by opposition parties in previous elections, especially the 2018 general elections that brought the PTI to power.