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May 10, 2021

Rabbani rejects Elections Ordinance

ISLAMABAD: Former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani on Sunday rejected the promulgation of the Elections (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, deals with right to vote to overseas Pakistanis and Electronic Machines and said that this amounts to imposing the will of one political party and smacks of one party rule as in a fascist state.

“The ordinance deals with two very sensitive elements of the electoral process, electronic voting and voting rights to overseas Pakistanis, but the major stakeholders i.e the political parties and the ECP have not been consulted nor a consensus developed,” he said while rejecting the promulgation of the election ordinances promulgated by the president while talking to The News on Sunday.

Raza Rabbani said promulgating an ordinance and then laying it for discussion in Parliament amounts to ridicule and demeaning the houses.

Raza Rabbani said the president, by promulgating the ordinance, has become a party to the furtherance of the political agenda of a particular political party of which he is a member, therefore, he has brought into question the neutrality of his constitutional office.

He said the electronic voting machines experience is fraught with many dangers and rigging without leaving a trail, despite a paper print out of the vote. “Many technically advanced countries have withdrawn this system,” he said.

The former Senate chairman said the vote for overseas Pakistanis has been tried on a limited bases by the ECP and failed. “This raise serious issues in a constituency based electoral system as to the manner and mode of the dispersion of votes by the ECP to the voters, casting of votes in that constituency and then counting of the votes,” he said.

Raza Rabbani said both these amendments mean that elections cannot be held and completed on the same day and the results will be compiled over days. “Such a system is a recipe for engineered elections,” he said. He said the election laws in Pakistan are good only if the state allows them to be implemented.