The Pakistani-made Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) would be priced at Rs 70,000 per machine while the federal government prepares to procure around 400,000 EVMs (including locally-manufactured and imported ones) for the 2023 general elections.
These details were shared on Thursday by Science and Technology Minister Shibli Faraz at the conference of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Science and Technology. Sajid Mehdi, the Committee Chairman directed the meeting to address concerns associated with the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST).
Electronic Voting Machines are User-Friendly Devices
He stated that electronic voting machines are user-friendly devices that would significantly benefit in stopping the rigging in future general elections. The electronic voting machines are waterproof, weather-resistant, and cannot be digitally compromised due to their non-connectivity with the internet, Faraz said.
Furthermore, the minister urged the opposition legislators to “avoid needless criticism and float ideas to bring advancements in EVM.” The board applauded the struggles of COMSATS University Islamabad and the National Institute of Electronics Islamabad for the development of EVMs in a short span of time.
Old-Age Villagers Won’t Be Able to Use the Latest EVMs
Nevertheless, some council members vigorously criticized the proposed launching of a new electoral system in the forthcoming general elections as EVMs, they said, could have “certain tricks to guarantee transparent elections.” Moreover, EVMs would build complications for “common people mainly old-age villagers as they will not be able to use it,” the NA panel members stated.
In addition to this, the council directed MoST to organize a meeting with the spokespeople of all federal parties in a proposal to create a shared accord on EVMs.
The Bills of 0.4 Million EVMs
The committee submitted two government bills and a private-member bill till the next meeting. Those were; The University of Engineering and Emerging Technology Bill, 2020, The National Metrology Institute of Pakistan Bill 2021, and The National University of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2020 passed by Riaz Fatyana from the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Legislators including Usman Khan Taraki, Shaukat Ali Bhatti, Abdul Shakoor Shad, Sobia Kamal Khan, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad Malik, Zaib Jaffar, Dr. Samina Matloob, Khursheed Ahmed Junejo, Sikandar Ali Rahoupoto, and superior officials from MoST attended the NA panel conference.