Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry recently hosted a press conference where he discussed Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the concerns regarding the e-voting machine. The minister explained that the machines would announce the election results in just 20 minutes rather than taking days once ready to operate. “Look at what happened in the recent elections, in Karachi, and elsewhere. The ballots were misplaced, and it took another day to declare the results. Similar incidents happen with each election, but EVM’s would eliminate such issues”, the minister continued.
The minister further addressed the reluctance exhibited by the opposition parties regarding the agreement with the installment of the Electronic voting machines. Chaudhary stated said that these parties are fighting this technology because if it becomes operational, they would no longer rig the elections win. He also added that the Parliamentary reporters and parliamentary members would be requested to witness a machine prototype to observe how these machines operate.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Science and Technology will set up an electronic voting machine at the Parliament House so the administrators and the press can observe the machine to understand its functions. An expert officer will be available near the machine to reply to any questions raised by the parliamentarians and the media. The NIE developed Pakistan’s first E-voting machine in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology.
In addition to it, plans to introduce e-voting in Pakistan have long been underway. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) signed an agreement to purchase electronic voting machines (EVMs) and biometric verification machines (BVMs) for a test run in by-elections the previous year.
Meanwhile, the prominent opposition parties have rejected the proposed electoral reform while it has also been severely opposed by the Election commission. Despite the absence of consensus concerning E-voting, the plans to inaugurate EVMs appear to be moving in full swing. Fawad Chaudhry has told that the Election commission will receive e-voting technology soon, while the President has been pushing for speedy incorporation of the high-tech electronic voting machines. The IT minister has further proclaimed that Pakistan’s next election will have E-voting.