Sunday, June 26, 2022

NA approves amendments to Elections Act; scraps use of EVMs

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ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly (NA) on Thursday approved Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which seeks to remove the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in next general elections, ARY News reported.

The bill was moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi that was passed with a majority vote. The bill is expected to be sent to the Senate tomorrow.

Debate on election amendment bill

Speaking on the occasion in the House, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar rejected the impression that the amendment is aimed at depriving overseas Pakistanis of their right to vote.

He said overseas Pakistanis are a precious asset of the country and the government does not believe in snatching their right to vote.

Regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machines in next general elections, Tarar said: “We are not against use of technology, but we have concerns about misuse of technology as Results Transmission System (RTS) had failed in last general elections to favour a particular political party.”

He went onto say that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had also expressed its inability to hold elections through I-Voting and EVMs in a short span of time.

Under the amendment in Section 94 of the Election Act, 2017, the commission may conduct pilot projects for voting by Overseas Pakistanis in bye-elections to ascertain the technical efficacy, secrecy, security, and financial feasibility of such voting and shall share the results with the government, which shall, within 15 days from the commencement of a session of a House after the receipt of the report, lay the same before both Houses of the Parliament.

Under Amendment in Section 103 of the Election Act, 2017, the ECP may conduct pilot projects for utilization of EVMs and biometric verification system in the bye-elections.

Earlier in November 2021, the previous govt passed two important bills including the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs), and the Election Amendment Bill 2021.

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