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Electronic voting machines can’t be hacked, says Shibli Faraz during demonstration; Technology and election transparency

Shibli Faraz explains how EVMs will help make the election process transparent.

While addressing a media briefing at the Parliament House in Islamabad, where the government had scheduled a demonstration of EVMs for lawmakers, the science minister assured everyone that the machines  “couldn’t be hacked or riddled with bugs” as they were neither connected to the internet nor dependent on mechanisms such as Bluetooth, Wifi or an operating system.

He hailed EVMs as the solution to rigging during and after elections. Faraz also added that results would be trust able due to the transparency of the elections.

The science minister called upon lawmakers to come and test out the EVM on display to satisfy themselves.

He said it was up to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to decide whether the machines fulfilled the requirements, adding that the ECP was the only constitutional institution that could approve or reject them.

“We are coordinating with the ECP. Before or immediately after Muharram [we will demonstrate EVMs to the ECP], obviously it’s the biggest stakeholder,” he said.

He added that the government had tried to incorporate all the requirements of the ECP into the EVMs.

Responding to the questions posed in the briefing, Faraz said repeated voting would be impossible, adding that EVMs were not connected with the National Database and Registration Authority.

He emphasized that voters would continue to be unidentifiable and that votes would not be verified through thumb impressions but voter lists instead.

“The machine will only decide the process of entering the vote,” he explained.

Faraz stated that three percent of votes or a total of 1.8 million votes were wasted from all over the country during general elections and margins of victory often came down to one or two votes. EVMs would eliminate this waste.

In the meantime, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser took to Twitter after testing the EVM himself and said that such technological advancement were crucial to ensure that the elections were transparent in the electoral process and later stated that this would help strengthen democracy.

Last week, Prime Minister Imran Khan himself received a detailed presentation and a demonstration of a new locally made EVM.

Talking to Dawn after the briefing held at the Prime Minister House, Faraz had said that the machine had been developed keeping in mind ground realities and in accordance with the specifications of the ECP, which had previously rejected the use of EVMs on technical grounds.

According to the minister, the new EVM was simple and user-friendly for voters as well as the polling staff and it would eliminate chances of rigging as it could not be bugged or hacked as it would have no operating system and would not be connected to the internet.

“Technology and the use of EVMs is the only answer to reclaim the credibility of elections. I invite the opposition to sit with us and select from EVM models we have available to restore the credibility of our elections,” he had tweeted.

Zainab Umer
Written By

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