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Opposition to EVMs reduces wedge between Opp parties

ISLAMABAD: The opposition for the presidential ordinance to facilitate internet and electronic voting system in the country has reduced the wedge between two major parties of the opposition -- Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan People's Party, which developed differences recently on the mode of taking on the government for its ouster.

PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal and PPP Parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman have announced to oppose the so-called legislation tooth and nail since it would be a mockery of the system and democracy and playing with the fate of the nation.

Sherry has hinted to challenge it in the court of law if the government insists to impose it on the nation.

The Election Commission of Pakistan that is constitutionally bound to hold free, fair and transparent polls in the country is opposed to the system in a manner the government is keen to enforce.

The commission in its special meeting later this month would discuss the issue and put forward its stance to the government.

Ahsan Iqbal has maintained that the electronic voting system would help in opening foreign interference doors in the election process of the country. Interestingly, the same allegations were levelled in the US polls against Russia.

Ahsan said that the government is making the electoral system of the country highly controversial through its unilateral actions for the disputed system.

“Its not about the franchise right for the expatriates but linked with the security of the electoral system. It would provide opportunity to the foreign agencies and adverse external powers to subvert the election process through hacking and that will raise serious questions about the transparency of polls,” he said.

In a brief chat with The News here on Sunday, he suggested that instead of opening the floodgates of classified foreign interference, the system for holding transparent election system is ensured through consultations with the political parties and IT experts.

He reminded that the biggest stakeholder of free and fair polls in the country is the Election Commission and the government should forward its proposals to the commission and the ECP is capable of developing consensus by inviting the political parties.

“The ruling party has lost all by-polls held in recent months throughout the country and has seen writing on the wall. For the reason, it intends to bring about yet another rigging project through so-called electronic voting,” Ahsan warned.

Meanwhile, the ECP sources told this scribe that the government has promulgated the ordinance in question without consultations and taking the commission into confidence.

The reservations of the commission about the electronic voting mechanism (EVM) persist. The Election Commission will convey its position with regard to the EVM to the government after its meeting.

The presidential ordinance is before the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Raja Sultan Sikandar and he has informally discussed it with the senior officials of the commission.