IT IS ECP’S PREROGATIVE TO DECIDE ELECTIONS THROUGH EVMS: ATTORNEY GENERAL

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Asked about whether the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would have the last say on whether to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the elections, Khalid Javed, the Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP), said the commission’s satisfaction was critical in this respect.

AGP Khalid Javed is a member of the four-member Government Coordinating Committee, which also includes Azam Swati and Babar Awan as members and Federal Minister for Science and Technology Senator Shibli Faraz as its chairman. The committee’s role is to provide advice to the ECP on issues such as voting machines and internet voting, among other things.

In an interview with Geo News’ “Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath” on Thursday, he stated that the election commission’s “overarching and fundamental constitutional mandate” is to hold free and fair elections, and that how it accomplishes this — whether through electronic voting machines or other means — is a “secondary issue.”

“The satisfaction of the ECP with regard to the modus operandi it thinks appropriate for conducting free and fair elections is very crucial.”

The ECP has not ruled out using electronic voting machines to conduct the polls, and it has constituted three high-powered committees to oversee the implementation process, according to him. According to the AGP, it is also the government’s responsibility to aid the ECP by providing financial assistance.

Asked about opposition parties’ objections to electronic voting machines, he said: “A controversy will be created when the ECP technically concludes that it cannot hold free and fair elections through EVMs.” He was responding to a question about the parties’ claims that the machines were “the government’s attempt to rig the elections.”

He said that the election legislation was enacted in accordance with the procedures outlined by the Constitution. Khalid Javed He said that if someone does not believe this, they may contest it.

According to the AGP, the new elections legislation is an enabling clause that has authorised the ECP to adopt a technology means of conducting elections. Voting for abroad Pakistanis and electronic voting machines (EVMs) are not new additions.

His statement reads in part: “They were previously used only for experimental projects, but their scope has now been broadened to encompass general elections.”

Because of this, he went on to say, the Opposition should show magnanimity and participate in the process. When asked a question, the AGP responded by stating that the legislation “does not accept of any serious problem that would allow the court to knock it down; nonetheless, the court will settle the subject if Opposition parties want to dispute it.”

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