Indigenously built electronic voting machine prototype ready

Author: Naveed Miraj

Regardless of the opposition parties’ stiff resistance, the government is pushing ahead with its plans to ensure use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the next general elections to ‘ensure credibility and transparency’ during the whole process.

Making a leap forward, a prototype of indigenously built EVM has been developed by COMSATS, NIE and NUST under the supervision of Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST). A meeting under Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan will be held today (Monday) where the MOST will give demonstration of prototype EVM. According to officials, the meeting will also finalize a robust campaign to mobilise public opinion in favour of EVMs in the upcoming elections.

Whilst the opposition parties are expressing their concerns over the use of EVMs, the government ministers are of the view that the election results cannot be manipulated through these machines since a piece of paper will be printed in addition to it being recorded electronically. The EVM system also does not employ the use of the internet due to concerns of hacking.

It merits mentioning here that the federal cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan has consistently been getting briefings about the introduction of EVMs and extending the right of vote to overseas Pakistanis. A three-member committee comprising the ministers for science and technology and minister for IT and the adviser on parliamentary affairs was also constituted to jointly submit a complete action plan with definite timelines on introduction of EVMs and extending right of vote to overseas Pakistanis.

The cabinet in its last meeting had also directed the ministry of parliamentary affairs that the launching of prototype of domestically manufactured EVM should be included in the event being organized to mark the completion of three years of the government.

Just last month, the National Assembly had also passed Election Act Amendment Bill, 2020, which contains dozens of amended clauses to introduce electoral reforms, including the right of vote to overseas Pakistanis, open ballot for Senate polls and use of electronic voting machines.

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