Thursday, January 20, 2022

ECP legally bound to use EVMs in upcoming by-elections: Fawad

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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said on Tuesday that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was bound to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) in upcoming by-elections after the Parliament passed legislation on the use of EVMs in elections, ARY News reported.

Speaking after a federal cabinet meeting, chaired by PM Imran Khan in Islamabad, the information minister told media that the cabinet had discussed a range of issued and agreed that upcoming by-elections must be held through EVMs.

“It is imperative to use EVMs in next by-elections after the amendment in election laws,” said Chaudhry and added that “government may not able to fund elections that would not include the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs).”

He further said that the federal cabinet meeting also voiced its concerns over the recently appeared vote-buying video in Lahore ahead of NA-133 by-polls.

“Election Commission of Pakistan should take notice of this incident and matter of rigging in Senate elections should be taken to a logical conclusion,” he appealed the election commission.

Omicron

Speaking over other issues discussed in today’s cabinet meeting, Fawad Chaudhry said that NCOC Head Asad Umar and SAPM on National Health Services, Dr Faisal Sultan gave a detailed briefing to the cabinet about the new variant of Covid-19 Omicron.

The cabinet asked the provincial governments and the public to get the vaccination process completed, said Chaudhry.

Winter gas plan approved

He further said the federal cabinet approved gas load management plan for the winter season in order to better deal with the gas shortage. “Under the gas load management plan, gas supply to the CNG sector will remain suspended from Dec 1 till February 15, 2022.”

The minister, however, said gas supply will be fully provided to the Independent Power Producers, fertilizer companies and export-oriented industries.

5 per cent additional gas will be provided to the power plants being operated on the LNG, he added.

“Pakistan’s gas reserves are fast depleting and we have to evolve an alternative strategy to deal with the situation,” the minister warned.

Other decisions

The information minister said that Pakistan will provide 50,000 metric tons of wheat to Afghanistan on a humanitarian basis.

During the cabinet meeting, the prime minister directed the FIA to nab the elements involved in human trafficking. The cabinet also accorded approval to hold a special meeting of the OIC Foreign Ministers in Pakistan.

The cabinet also ratified the decisions taken at the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) held on November 29, 2021.

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