Govt, ECP in one other tiff over EVMs, e-voting


ISLAMABAD:

The federal cupboard on Tuesday authorized a timeline for awarding contracts for the acquisition of digital voting machines (EVMs) and coaching of workers whereas the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), as a substitute of following the federal government’s directives, determined to move forward with its personal schedule.

During a gathering, the cupboard directed that the supply of EVMs would begin from June 15, 2022 and accomplished by June 15, 2023.

It additionally ordered the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to improve the e-voting system in 4 months.

However, the ECP rejected the federal government’s timeline and mentioned it could observe the suggestions of its personal committees.

It added that the fee would offer the timeline for upgrading of e-voting system, the acquisition of EVMs and coaching of workers itself.

In a briefing to the cupboard, Science and Technology Minister Shibli Faraz mentioned a technical committee, headed by the ECP secretary, had been fashioned.

However, the minister raised issues over the committee figuring out the potential of utilizing EVMs within the subsequent basic elections.

Shibli proposed a timeline below which the technical options could be accomplished by December 15 this yr.

The cupboard was knowledgeable that the contract for the acquisition of EVMs would awarded by April 1, 2022 in order that the supply of the machines might begin from June 1, 2022. 

Read ECP to make use of EVMs in by-polls on experimental foundation

The ECP had been directed to start out the coaching of workers from December 1 this yr and operational workers from June 15, 2022.

The preparations for storage of machines would begin from December 1 this yr and the supply of machines needs to be accomplished by June 15, 2023.

The cupboard members famous that the committee gauging the feasibility of utilizing the EVMs and e-voting within the subsequent basic elections “at this point” was “unwarranted”.

The assembly was knowledgeable that below the amendments to the Election Act 2017, the ECP was certain to make use of the EVMs and e-voting system for Pakistanis living overseas.

The federal authorities would solely be capable to launch funds to the ECP if elections had been held below the brand new regulation.

The members of the assembly referred to as for the implementation of the timeline to make the forthcoming elections clear.

The ECP had just lately alleged that the ruling PTI was exacting stress on the electoral physique to squeeze out early and “hasty” floatation of tenders for the acquisition of the machines.

It insisted that the duty of buying the digital machines merited delicate dealing with and couldn’t be subjected to the federal government’s coercion.

“The ECP is an independent institution and will carry out its duties within the constitutional framework and it has already formed three high-level committees for this purpose,” an official of the fee advised The Express Tribune.

On November 23, the ECP had fashioned three committees to calculate the expenditure of digital voting machines and amend the prevailing rules and rules for utilizing them in keeping with a regulation enacted by a joint sitting of parliament.

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