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Unlike widely propagated, ECP never averse to use of EVMs: CEC Raja

Islamabad: The chief election commissioner Pakistan Sikandar Sultan Raja said on Wednesday that the ECP had come under “unjustified criticism” for allegedly opposing the use of electronic voting machines and voting rights for Pakistanis living abroad when the fact is that the electoral watchdog had never held such views.

The ECP chairman made the comments in response to criticism from the PTI Chairman who has repeatedly accused the commission of obstructing the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in favor of his political opponents.

He said local government elections in Punjab will take place in the last week of April. “We are conducting de-limitations again and the provincial government has been asked to ensure polls are held by the stipulated time.”

Raja said the ECP had already informed the Punjab government that the commission would make use of previous laws under Article 283 of the Constitution, if the administration attempted to again amend the local government law.

He underlined that the commission was in support of the use of technology in elections, saying, however, it must be backed by all stakeholders.

The ECP chief blamed the Punjab government for delay in LG polls due to repeated changes in laws. “We need at least three to four months for delimitations.”

He emphasised that the local government polls held the utmost importance in the country.

He said the federal government had been conveyed that the ECP needed seven to eight months for delimitations. “We are confident once the census is completed to the core, we will be ready to hold general elections.”

He elaborated that by-elections on 17 National Assembly seats and 34 Punjab Assembly elections were held in 2020-21 and 2021-22. “Of them, 35 by-polls were won by then opposition and 16 by the government, which proves the transparency of the electoral process,” he added.

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