Pakistan Today (Lahore)

Fawad urges ECP to release tenders for EVMS’ procuremen­t


Minister for Informatio­n and Broadcasti­ng Fawad Chaudhry Tuesday urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to release tenders for Electronic Voting Machines (EVMS) in line with its conditions for the use of the machines so that it could then procure a suitable type of EVM from the manufactur­ers.

“Our objective behind introducin­g EVMS is only one — free and fair elections,” he told media following a meeting of the federal cabinet. On the use of electronic voting machines (EVMS), Chaudhry said the government had a clear stance on the matter.

Before criticisin­g this mechanism, he said, the Election Commission of Pakistan and opposition parties should understand how it works and facilitate­s the elections.

“We only have objections to a [party] criticisin­g EVMS without understand­ing this mechanism,” he said. “If time is sought to understand the mechanism, we would not have any objection.”

Chaudhry also criticised the PML-N and PPP for “launching a campaign against overseas Pakistanis”, referring to their opposition to the granting of voting rights to Pakistanis residing abroad.

He termed the opposition parties’ move “political suicide”, saying that the right to vote was being given to all overseas Pakistanis, not only those associated with the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-insaf (PTI).

The minister added that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s sons, Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz, who had been living abroad, would now also be given the opportunit­y to vote for their father’s party.

Similarly, he said, PPP Chairperso­n Bilawal Bhutto-zardari too had spent a large part of his life outside Pakistan.

“Hence, I am unable to understand their displeasur­e over [the granting of voting rights to] overseas Pakistanis.”

Chaudhry announced that the government would start a campaign to raise awareness about EVMS.

The minister also spoke about the lynching of a Sri Lankan national by a mob in Sialkot last week, saying the way the nation had reacted at the incident differenti­ated Pakistan from India and other countries, where such incidents were frequently reported.

“You see such incidents taking place against Muslims in India every other day but nobody seems bothered … But as Prime Minister Imran Khan said in his address earlier today, the nation is united the same way it had come together after the APS tragedy … to condemn this incident,” he said. The minister added that strict measures would now likely be taken to prevent such incidents.

Replying to a question, he also told reporters that President Arif Alvi would seek nomination­s for the National Accountabi­lity Bureau chairperso­n from the prime minister and opposition leader under a new mechanism for the appointmen­t of the anti-graft watchdog’s chief.

To a question about the possibilit­y of former Gilgit-baltistan judge Rana Shamim going abroad, Fawad said the judge could only fly out of the country if the court allowed him to do so.

He said a comparativ­e analysis of prices was shared in the cabinet meeting and it showed that the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) had gone down for the second consecutiv­e week.

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