ISLAMABAD: Expressing his frustration over the prolonged delay in election results, President Dr. Arif Alvi conveyed that the ongoing crisis in the country could have been averted if Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were utilized during the February 8 general elections.
The Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) new Election Management System (EMS) faced significant challenges despite the commission’s assurances, with the initial results of all constituencies still pending even after nearly 72 hours.
President Alvi, using his social media handle, remarked, “Had EVMs been there today, my dear beloved Pakistan would have been spared this crisis.” He reminisced about the past government’s efforts, led by the PTI, advocating for EVMs. The president highlighted the extensive struggle, including over 50 meetings at the Presidency, which was ultimately thwarted.
In describing the benefits of EVMs, President Alvi explained that they featured paper ballots for manual counting, similar to the current process. However, EVMs also had a simple electronic calculator/counter for each vote button pressed, allowing the totals of every candidate to be available and printed within five minutes of the poll’s closure.
The delay in announcing results has drawn concerns from various political parties, including the PPP. Today, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) staged a protest, alleging rigging and result tampering in Sindh’s PS-22 constituency. JUI-F leader Rashid Mehmood Soomro claimed their candidate was deliberately made to lose, calling for fresh elections in multiple constituencies.
Moody’s Investor Service, anticipating the timely declaration of results on Friday, suggested that it would alleviate the current uncertain circumstances in Pakistan. Grace Lim, an analyst at Moody’s in Singapore, emphasized the importance of resolving the situation promptly, considering the country’s challenging macroeconomic conditions, fragile balance of payments, weak growth, and high inflation.