Tuesday September 27, 2022

Next elections will be held under new mechanism: Fawad

By Our Correspondent
June 08, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said Monday that the next elections in 2023 will be held under a new mechanism, which had been shared with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as well as the Parliament.

Fawad, who was flanked by Minister for Science and Technology Senator Shibli Faraz, Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan and Advisor on Interior Shahzad Akbar, briefed the media persons about their meeting with the ECP here.

He said that the second meeting was held with the ECP and various issues were discussed during the meeting. He noted that last year 49 amendments were introduced in the Electoral Reforms Bill in the election process on which they wanted to sit with the opposition for legislation so that elections could be held, having full confidence of the people of Pakistan.

The second point, he explained, was the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), most of the allegations of fraud come from the end of time of polling to the announcement of the result, ‘so we want to use the electronic machine and the ECP also welcomed use of technology for electoral transparency.

The minister continued that in addition, biometric verification and I-voting were discussed with the ECP on giving the right to vote to 8-9 million overseas Pakistanis. He said that the report of independent experts on I-voting has been received by the ECP and the Commission would work on it as per its procedure. He noted that a comprehensive report on facilitating the overseas Pakistanis to exercise their right to vote had been given to the ECP.

Fawad said that all the technology for electronic voting machines was complete and all the manufacturers were engaged in the manufacture of machines and it would be demonstrated this week before the ECP by the Ministry of Science and Technology, while the Commission will appoint its experts, if they so desired and the government would cooperate on this count.

The minister said they wanted the opposition to give its input and point of view on the electoral reforms. Speaking about a post, which had appeared on the ECP website, he said that the government delegation also talked on this important matter with the ECP. They were informed that the Commission had conducted an inquiry and found out that it was a mistake committed by an internal department upon which they apologised and regretted.

Babar Awan said that the ECP had framed rules to give the right to vote to overseas Pakistanis but there was no law, so we issued an electoral reform ordinance. He explained that under the first part of the ordinance, the 2023 elections would be held through electronic voting machines and under the second part, the real earners of the country, i.e overseas Pakistanis, would be given a share in the election. He noted that ‘we will renew the entire electoral system and hold transparent elections on the basis of technology for which we are taking the bill in the House, although we have a majority in the National Assembly and Senate but since these elections are not of one party. That's why we want them to make suggestions’.

Babar Awan said that the proposed law also has a provision to make the ECP financially independent so that free and independent elections can be held and the ECP can do its job without any pressure.

Shibli Faraz said that the prime minister has formed a team comprising Ministry of Information, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and Science and Technology for transparent elections. He said that work on electronic voting machine was being carried out under the Ministry of Science and Technology and hoped that the next elections would be held in a way that was trusted by all the people.

Fawad, prior to speaking on their meeting with the ECP, shared details of the horrific train accident and said that unfortunately for a long time the investment in railway system and other departments was not made what it should have been. “All institutions are on decline due to this,” he remarked.

The minister said that rescue teams and officials had reached the spot by 6.30 am. As soon as the prime minister was informed of the accident, he immediately directed Railway Minister Azam Swati to reach the spot, on which he reached the spot by a special plane at 9 o'clock.

He said, “The entire nation shares the grief of bereaved families and the results of its preliminary inquiry have made it public.” The minister said that after 74 years, ML1 is the biggest project in the railways that our government has brought, after which the shape and nature of the railways will change.