Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday criticized the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for opposing the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and electoral reforms. The prime minister’s comments came during his address to members of the parliament, where he emphasized electoral reforms, saying EVMs were necessary for free and fair elections. The premier said over the past 50 years, Pakistan had failed in conducting free, fair and transparent elections acceptable to all the parties. The decision to introduce EVMs was not made overnight, he said, noting that his government had studied election reports and came to the conclusion that EVMs were the solution to stopping rigging. “As soon as the elections are over, the result is in front of you. If someone wants to verify the [results], then they can check the paper trail,” the prime minister said. He pointed out that the government had invited the opposition on multiple occasions to discuss the electoral reforms, but they refused to be a part of it, and neither did they propose another solution. “In the last 1.5 years, have they not helped the government, they did not bring any proposals; they just boycotted sessions,” the prime minister said. ECP’s ‘strange reasons’ The prime minister wondered why had the election commission opposed the EVMs, as it was their job to conduct free, fair, and transparent elections. “They provided strange reasons: What if there is no electricity in Balochistan, what if this happens, what if that happens?” he remarked. “Do they know what happens in the [traditional mode] of elections? Ballot papers are double-stamped, the results arrive after 24 hours,” he said. The only solution behind it is EVM, he said. The prime minister said reforms always faced opposition, as they go against the corrupt elements vested interest. The government is responsible for bringing electoral reforms, he said, as he mentioned that PTI had staged a 126-day sit-in in 2014 to push for reforms. “We wanted to bring reforms so that the next elections would be fair,” he said. ‘This is how low our moral standards have fallen’. Highlighting the importance of electoral reforms, he said that the 2018 general elections were termed “rigged” by the PML-N despite the election personnel being appointed during their tenure. Politicians are aware of what happens during Senate elections, he said. “Videos surfaced that money was being distributed [for horse-trading]. This is how low our moral standards have fallen. The public representatives are seen putting money in their bags, while the election commission and the government look on silently.” “The Supreme Court said verifiable vote should be introduced in Senate elections, but the Opposition parties and election commission opposed it,” he said, wondering why the government was being criticised for electoral reforms as it would gain no “personal benefit” from it. The prime minister asked when everyone knew that horse-trading takes place in Senate elections, then why did the election commission and Opposition oppose electoral reforms. The prime minister wondered why the election commission and the opposition opposed the electoral reforms despite videos showing lawmakers taking money. ‘Not everyone can do justice’ The prime minister told the participants that till they, who are the country’s leaders, do not change themselves, they cannot lift the moral standing of the nation. “Not everyone can do justice, when you have a low moral standing, you enter into deals, you cannot fight mafias,” the prime minister said, noting that all this happens when there are free and fair elections. “You are up against mafias who are against free and fair elections,” he told the participants. The prime minister told the lawmakers that the joint parliamentary session slated for tomorrow (Thursday) should be considered jihad, as it was not for his personal benefit, it was for the country. Goal behind ‘Naya Pakistan’ The prime minister said he had entered politics to bring about change in the country, and that the goal behind “Naya Pakistan” was to put the nation back on track to fulfil its founders’ aims. PM Imran Khan said the Opposition parties were the product of a corrupt system and they would always oppose electoral reforms in the country. “They had put their health on the back seat in their struggle to form a country in line with Islamic teachings,” he said, adding that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had established Riasat-e-Madina and set an example for the rest of the world. The prime minister said Scandinavian countries, China, and Jews were progressing as they had followed the way of the Prophet. “Any person who follows his footsteps will thrive.” The premier said if a nation’s morality remains intact, they cannot be beaten even with atomic bombs – just like Japan. PM Imran Khan said corruption thrives when a nation’s moral values have declined. Meanwhile, the prime minister Wednesday held a meeting with Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, Deputy Chairman Senate Mirza Muhammad Afridi and Leader of the House in Senate Shehzad Waseem. The senators including Azam Khan Swati, Shibli Faraz, Dr Sania Nishtar, Faisal Saleem Rehman, Muhammad Humayun Mohmand, Mohsin Aziz, Faisal Javed, Fida Muhammad, Dost Muhammad Mehsud, Muhammad Ayub, Seemi Azedi, Waleed Iqbal, Zeeshan Khanzada, Dr Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur, Falak Naz Chitrali, Fauzia Arshad, Muhammad Abdul Qadir, Liaquat Khan Tarakai, Dr Mehr Taj Roghani, Aun Abbas Bappi, Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Gurdeep Singh, Faisal Vawda, Saifullah Abro, Saifullah Sarwar Khan Niazi, Syed Ali Zafar, Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti, Anwarul Haq Kakar, Samina Mumtaz, Manzoor Kakar, Danesh Kumar, Khalida Ateeb, Kamil Ali Agha and Syed MuzaffarHussain Shah also met the prime minister. During the meeting, they discussed the ongoing legislation in the Senate. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday held meetings with members of National Assembly and discussed the ongoing legislative process in the Parliament, political situation in the country and the ongoing development projects in different constituencies. The members who met the prime minister included Syed Faizul Hassan, Haji Imtiaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Chaudhry Shaukat Ali Bhatti, Sardar Talib Nakai, Rana Muhammad Qasim Noon, Zulfikar Ali Khan, Chaudhry Amir Sultan Cheema, Mehr Ghulam Muhammad Lali, Nawab Sher Waseer, Sadaqat Ali Abbasi, Rai Muhammad Murtaza, Amjad Ali Khan, Abdul Ghaffar Wattoo, Gul Dad Khan, Gul Zafar Khan, Sajid Khan, Muhammad Iqbal Afridi, Jawwad Hussain, Malik Fakhar Zaman, Faheem Khan, Captain (R) Jameel Ahmed Khan, Saifur Rehman, Muhammad Alamgir Khan, Attaullah, Aftab Jehangir, Muhammad Aslam Khan and Muhammad Amir Dogar. Ministers Nurul Haq Qadri, Asad Umar and Syed Ali Haider Zaidi were also present in the meetings.