The National Assembly passed on the “Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022” on Thursday, to conduct pilot projects in by-elections before using I-Voting and electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the general elections.
Speaking in the National Assembly, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar rejected the impression that the amendment was intended to deprive overseas Pakistanis of their right to vote.
He said that Pakistanis abroad are a valuable asset to Pakistan and that the government does not believe in disenfranchising them.
With respect to the use of EVMs, the law minister has stated that they have no objection to the use of technology, but they are concerned about the misuse of technology, as the results transmission system (RTS) failed in the 2018 elections to favor of a particular political party.
He said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had also expressed its inability to hold elections through I-Vote and EVM within a short period of time and without having to do homework.
He said that two amendments are proposed to revive the Elections Law 2017, allowing the ECP to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections.
Under the amendment in section 94 of the 2017 Election Act, the ECP may conduct pilot projects for the voting of Pakistanis abroad in by-elections to test the technical effectiveness secrecy, security, and financial feasibility of such voting and shall share the results with the government, which shall, within 15 days from the inception of a session of a House after the receipt of the report, lay the same before both Houses of the Parliament.
Under the amendment in section 103 of the Election Act, 2017, the ECP may conduct pilot projects for the use of EVMs and the biometric verification system during by-elections.
Speaking on the occasion, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, Raja Riaz Ahmed has said the NA should complete its term and elections should take place on time.