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Not Every Electric Thing Has Current: E-Voting a Threat to Status Quo: Babar Awan

“The government is serious on e-voting machines but other parties are not,” he said

E-voting machines threaten the status quo and it wants to stop their introduction in the election process, PM’s aide on parliamentary affairs Babar Awan said Friday in a presser.

On Friday afternoon, Awan said no one has ever thought of overseas Pakistanis’ right to vote, rather they were told that they were unaware of the issues. He was addressing a press conference in Islamabad.

The Election Commission of Pakistan said it had reservations over the electoral reforms but the legislation was in accordance with the law, the PM’s aide said. “The government is serious on e-voting machines but other parties are not,” he said.

“The election commission should summon all parties; we don’t have any objection to it.”Awan clarified that they were open to a dialogue on these reforms but an NRO (National Reconciliation Order) was not debatable.The statement came two days after the ECP said the Election Act Amendment Bill contradicts the Constitution of Pakistan.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs passed the bill on June 9. It amended several clauses of the Election Act, 2017.In a statement, the ECP said its stance on the bill wasn’t debated by the standing committee.The amendment to hold Senate elections through an open ballot goes against the Supreme Court’s ruling, it said.“Preparing electoral lists is the constitutional duty of the election commission,” it said.

“The powers of the commission cannot be diminished or abolished.”The ECP said delimitation of constituencies on the basis of voters, instead of population, was in contrast with the constitution too.“According to the constitution, seats in the National Assembly are allocated on the basis of population,” the statement read.

A third-party audit pointed out mistakes in the electronic voting system as well, according to the ECP.The audit company recommended not using the system.The ECP said it witnessed demonstration of e-voting machines of two international firms.It will examine the Science and Technology Ministry machines at the end of July, it added.

Ahmed Mukhtar Naqshbandi

Media person and communication expert for over 25 years. Worked with Dow Jones News, World Bank, CNBC Pakistan, Aaj TV, ARY TV, Abbtakk TV, Business Recorder, Pakistan Observer, Online News Network, TTI Magazine and other local and world Publications.

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