Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry held a press conference where he talked about Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), among other topics, on Tuesday. The minister revealed that the machines would declare the election results in a whopping 20 minutes instead of taking days once operational. “Look at what happened in the recent elections, in Karachi and elsewhere. The ballots were misplaced, and it took another day to declare the results. Similar incidents happen with each election, but EVM’s would eliminate such issues”, the minister added.
Speaking of the opposition parties’ reluctance to agree with the instalment of the Electronic voting machines, Chaudhary said that these parties are opposing this technology because if it becomes operational, they would no longer rig the elections win. He further added that the Parliamentary reporters and parliamentary members would be invited to witness a machine prototype to see how these machines work.
The Ministry of Science and Technology will also set up an electronic voting machine at the Parliament House so the lawmakers and the press can view the machine to understand its functions. A technical officer will be available near the machine to respond to any queries by the parliamentarians and the media. The NIE developed Pakistan’s first E-voting machine in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Plans to launch E-voting in Pakistan have long been underway. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) signed an agreement to procure electronic voting machines (EVMs) and biometric verification machines (BVMs) for a trial run in by-elections last year.
PM Khan has said that Pakistan’s democratic and electoral process can no longer afford a questioned system and doesn’t enjoy public confidence while stressing the need for an electronic voting system.
Meanwhile, the major opposition parties have dismissed the proposed electoral reform while it has also been strongly opposed by the Election commission.
However, despite a lack of consensus regarding E-voting, the plans to introduce EVMs seem to be moving in full swing. Fawad Chaudhry has said that the Election commission will get e-voting technology soon, while the President has been pushing for a swift implementation of high-tech electronic voting machines. The IT minister has also announced that Pakistan’s next election will have E-voting.