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‘Internet-based voting system needed to include overseas Pakistanis in elections’


ISLAMABAD: Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Tuesday that the government wants to give the voting right to overseas Pakistanis, however, it will need an internet-based voting system, ARY News reported on Tuesday.

Fawad Chaudhry, while giving a media briefing after the conclusion of the federal cabinet session, reiterated the government’s stance for making progress on granting the voting right to overseas Pakistanis.

He said that an electronic voting machine (EVM) has been manufactured and a practical demonstration was also made in Pakistan. Chaudhry detailed that one of the EVMs was locally manufactured, whereas, two of them have been imported.

The information minister said that a briefing was given to the cabinet members regarding the talks with banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) by the interior minister.

He added that the federal authorities will establish a central database for monitoring the availability and prices of essential commodities.

The cabinet members approved the appointment of the MTI board of directors for the five hospitals in Karachi being administered by the Centre. He said that the federal government wants to jointly run the hospitals in Karachi.

He said that Zaheer Abbas Khokhar’s appointment was approved as the chairman of Baitul Maal. Moreover, it has been approved to continue container supplies of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) from Karachi to Kabul.

The minister announced that the federal government has decided to re-organise different state-owned institutions to improve their performance.

Fawad Chaudhry strongly condemned the derogatory remarks delivered by Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker Shahid Khaqan Abbasi against the National Assembly (NA) Speaker Asad Qaiser.

He said that the lawmakers should show a civilised attitude in the Parliament. Chaudhry was of the view that the national institutions were deliberately destroyed in the past tenures and now, the opposition is fighting to seize Islamabad.

Chaudhry said that the federal government has invited the opposition leaders multiple times to sit at a dialogue table to finalise electoral reforms.

Regarding the violent protests, the information minister said that the government could not forget the martyred security officials. He added that the murder case could only be dissolved through the court.

Earlier in the day, the federal cabinet deferred a decision on a summary regarding exempting the Kartarpur Corridor project from the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules.

A report on the construction of a high-rise building on the Pakistan Railways’ land in Nowshera was presented by a cabinet committee in the meeting. The cabinet approved a summary for the transfer of the Strategic Export Control Division’s powers.

The cabinet deferred the appointment of the board of directors of the Joint Investment Companies. In addition to that, the meeting also postponed a briefing by the special assistant to the PM on energy Tabish Gauhar about a plan for cutting circulation debt.

The cabinet also postponed a briefing by SAPM Dr Ishrat Hussain on a PIA restructuring plan and approved the appointment of the National Insurance Company’s chief executive officer. The appointment of the board of governors under the Federal Medical Teaching Ordinance was also deferred.



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