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Parliament passes bill on using EVMs in elections, overseas voting rights

ISLAMABAD: The Joint Sitting of the Parliament on Wednesday on passed The Elections Second Amendment Bill, 2021, granting the right of vote to overseas Pakistanis and providing for use of electronic voting machines in the elections.

The bill was moved by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan. According to the bill, the Election Commission of Pakistan shall, with the technical assistance of NADRA and any other authority or agency, enable overseas Pakistanis in a prescribed manner subject to secrecy and security to exercise their right to vote during the general elections.

The bill also authorizes the ECP to procure electronic voting machines for casting votes in general elections. This prompted the opposition to tear copies of the agenda and walk out of the session in protest.

The Parliament passed the legislative proposal which pertains to fair, free and transparent election through utilisation of technology and modern gadgets. The bill is also aimed at granting voting rights to the Overseas Pakistanis which may only be possible by vesting exclusive authority in ECP with technical assistance of NADRA and other agencies.

It also asks to procure electronic voting machines (EVMs) for casting of votes in general elections. Amendments were sought in section 94 and 103 of the Election Act, 2017 to achieve the aforesaid objectives. A total of 221 lawmakers voted in favor of the motion while 203 lawmakers opposed it.

Lawmakers also gathered around the treasury benches, chanting slogans against Prime Minister Imran Khan. Earlier, the bill on the use of EVMs was deferred at the request of Babar Awan, but it was later taken up again and put up to a vote.

ICJ review and reconsideration bill passed

The Joint sitting has also passed the International Court of Justice (Review and Reconsideration) bill, 2021, to provide for the right of review and reconsideration in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case to bring into effect the judgment of the International Court of Justice.

Moved by Law Minister Farogh Naseem, the bill provides for the right of review and reconsideration in the matter of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav to give legal effect to the judgment of the International Court of Justice. It was passed with a majority vote.

The Indian spy had been sentenced to death by a court in Pakistan back in April 2017. Commander Jadhav was a RAW operative who facilitated numerous acts of terrorism in Pakistan, which resulted in the killings of countless innocent citizens of Pakistan. The bill states that in order to give full effect to the judgment, it is necessary that a mechanism for review and reconsideration of Pakistan’s own choice be provided.

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