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Shehbaz Sharif calls EVMs ‘evil vicious machines’

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif was addressing the joint session of the Parliament. Source: FILE.

ISLAMABAD: Addressing the joint session of Parliament, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif called electronic voting machines (EVMs) ‘evil vicious machines’.

The Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had rejected the proposal on using the EVMs on strong grounds, not personal likes or dislikes. He alleged that the government and its allies wanted to bulldoze the legislative process. “People of Pakistan will never forgive you on such legislation,” he said.

Shehbaz Sharif said the session was postponed on the pretext that the government wanted to consult with the opposition on the issue, however, he was it was an excuse to buy time so that the government could secure the required votes.

“I have received your letter. We have carefully considered your letter and given you the full answer. I commend the opposition members for not coming under government pressure,” he told the Speaker.

He said the government had no intention of holding consultations on the issue. He said the Parliamentary Committee on Electrical Reforms held 117 sessions during the tenure of the PML-N government, but the current committee only convened three sessions on the issue.

Responding to the Opposition Leader, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that government was introducing electronic voting machines (EVMs) to bury ‘evil desires’. Speaking in the joint session of the Parliament, Qureshi said the government doesnot want to impose any black law but is striving to eliminate the bad practices of previous governments.

Qureshi said that questions were raised on every election conducted after 1971 and now time has come to improve direction and focus on the development of the nation. Qureshi said that the government is tabling the bills as they have the required majority and is determined to move forward in a democratic way.

Meanwhile, the PTI government deferred voting on a bill related to the introduction of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the electoral process, noting that the Opposition wanted to discuss the matter before voting on the matter.

The bill was part of the government’s legislative agenda for today’s joint session. As soon as National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser handed over the microphone to Parliamentary Affairs Adviser Babar Awan, the Opposition started creating a ruckus in the assembly. Awan requested the NA Speaker to postpone voting on the bill on EVMs, stating that it should be deferred since the Opposition wanted to talk to the Speaker on the matter.

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