Election Commission of Pakistan breaks silence over use of EVM in next General Elections

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Election Commission of Pakistan breaks silence over use of EVM in next General Elections

ISLAMABAD – Despite the legislation by the parliament, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is still not sure if electronic voting machines (EVMs) will actually be used in the next elections.

This observation came from the ECP during a meeting of the members of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice, chaired by PTI MNA Riaz Fatyana.

“It took India 20 years and Brazil 22 years to start using these machines,” ECP Secretary Omar Hamid Khan told lawmakers, explaining that it would also take them "a while" to get EVMs up and running.

“There are challenges in using EVMs and they cannot say anything with surety on whether the use of EVMs will be applicable in the next elections or not,” said ECP official.

Khan said EVMs would have to go through 14 steps before they can be used in the next general elections. There would be three to four more pilot projects related to the use of the EVMs, he maintained.

“How many EVMs will there be at a polling station also remains to be figured out,” he said, adding that the state institution is working to facilitate overseas Pakistanis.

On this occasion, MNA Aalia Kamran raised some very pertinent questions, including how the EVMs would be used in areas without internet.

“[The] people of Balochistan barely go to cast votes. How will they cast a vote on an EVM?” she asked.

On Friday, the PTI government bulldozed 33 bills in a joint session of Parliament, including the election amendment bill, making way for the use of EVMs in the next elections.

The Opposition has continually objected to the use of these machines, saying they are prone to hacking and not reliable.