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Science Minister rejects ECP’s ‘biased’ objections on EVMs

Ministry of Science and Technology was tasked to produce the electronic voting machines (EVM). Source: FILE.

ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Science and Technology, which was tasked to produce the electronic voting machines (EVM), has rejected the objections raised by the Election commission of Pakistan (ECP).

While calling the reservations as prejudiced and unsubstantiated, Federal Science minister Shbili Faraz said a technical team was summoned to the ECP’s office to brief over the EVMs but it has already raised objections even before even the meeting.

The ECP has submitted its report on the use of EVM to the parliamentary standing committee, raising about 37 objections.
However, it agreed that step-by-step introduction and implementation of EVMs could help in achieving voting transparency.

Shibli Faraz said the technical team briefed the ECP but the regulatory had already raised and submitted its objections the day before. The objections are not on technical grounds but were raised on general matters, he claimed.

ECP rejects EVMs proposal

A day earlier, the ECP rejected the government’s proposal to use EVMs during elections, saying that it cannot stop rigging in polls.

“The EVMs cannot be used to conduct free and transparent elections in line with the Constitution,” the electoral body said during a meeting of a parliamentary committee of the Senate.

Explaining why the EVMs could not stop rigging, the ECP said it can be hacked, the machine can be easily tampered with, and the software can be easily changed. “The machine can misuse state power, and it cannot prevent horse-trading”, the ECP maintained.

“There is no secrecy of the voter in the electronic voting machine; there is a lack of transparency; testing time before the next general election is less; stakeholders are not on board; people have not been taken into confidence,” the ECP said.

The electoral body highlighted it did not have enough funding to roll out the machines throughout the country, and it also asked the government how can it be sure of the machine’s transparency.

There has been a heated debate between the government, the opposition, and other stakeholders over the use of EVMs, with the Centre claiming it is a way forward to make the elections in the country transparent.