On Wednesday, the government accomplished a crucial triumph in the parliament’s joint session as it managed to pass the Elections Amendment Bill, 2021, granting voting rights to overseas Pakistanis and the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs).
The opposition, in objection, tore copies of the day’s schedule and marched out of the session in protest. The Elections Amendment Bill 2021 on the use of EVMs was previously submitted at the request of the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan but was later placed for a vote.
Opposition Leader Calls the Passing of Election Amendment bill 2021 the ‘Blackest Day in the History’
After the protest, leaders of opposition parties convened in the chambers of the opposition leader, Shehbaz Sharif, to deliberate over a future course of action. Approaching the media out of the Parliament House, Shehbaz Sharif stated that the day would be remembered as the “blackest day in the history of the parliament”.
Furthermore, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Ameer Sirajul Haq repeated Shehbaz’s viewpoints and said the brand-new laws concerning the voting rights to overseas Pakistanis and the use of EVMs were passed to “steal the next elections”. He added that it was a “sad day in the history of the parliament”. The joint session was supposed to take place on Nov 11 but was canceled by the government much to the opposition’s chagrin after its allies displayed reservations. However, after taking all allies on board, President Arif Alvi summoned the session today at noon.
The Bill Approving the Use of EVMs Were Bulldozed Today
Taking the stage, Shehbaz declared that the session was delayed by the government as it did not have the majority to get the vote on the Elections Amendment Bill 2021 entailing concerning the voting rights to overseas Pakistanis and the use of EVMs. “The nation and history will not forgive the National Assembly speaker if these bills were bulldozed today,” Shehbaz said. In reply, the speaker stated he will not violate rules during today’s session. He further termed electronic voting machines (EVMs) “evil and vicious machines”.
Moreover, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairperson, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that if there was no means to hold electronic voting in the parliament then how could the government bring EVMs across Pakistan in just 20 months. He further added that opposition parties will go to court if the Elections Amendment Bill 2021 entailing the voting rights to overseas Pakistanis and the use of EVMs is passed as it “violated” the Constitution of Pakistan. The PPP chairperson further added that his party and the PML-N supported the ballot right for overseas Pakistanis but the PTI was still taking a solo flight in this regard.
Giving Voting Rights to Overseas Pakistanis will Enhance the Democratic Process
Throughout the parliamentary assemblage of the PTI, Prime Minister Imran Khan appeared to be confident of success. The prime minister said the government has the required majority to get the Elections Amendment Bill 2021 passed while leading members to guarantee their presence in the House. The PM said the right of vote to overseas Pakistanis and the use of EVMs will allow the democratic process, continuing that the suggested legislation favored Pakistan, not any individuals.
Source: Express Tribune