ISLAMABAD, May 05 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Tuesday offered his good offices to opposition parties to develop a consensus over introduction of electronic voting machines (EVMs) after witnessing a demonstration.
In a private Tv channel (GEO News) programme, the president invited the opposition parties to Aiwan-e-Sadr or parliament, as convenient to them, soon after Eid ul Fitr to witness a demonstration of the EVM prototype.
The parties could raise their objections after the demonstration which could be addressed, he said while responding to question.
The president also extended invitation to the media, journalists and columnists to join them during the demonstration.
However, the president, made it clear that the final decision in this regard would be taken by the parliament.
The president said he wanted all the political parties on board with regard to introduction of use of latest technology ie; EVM’s in the election process.
To another question, the president clarified that the old system of balloting would not be done away in the new electronic voting system rather it would be kept intact.
A voter would press a button of his choice containing election symbols on the electronic machine, his or her vote would be electronically counted along with a print out of a ballot at the same time, which would be dropped in the sealed ballot box, he added.
The president maintained that under the new electronic system, votes could be electronically and manually counted.
The printed ballots could be counted if any objections were raised by the contesting parties, he said, adding, so the electronic system would be backed up with paper ballots.
The president to another question said the manufacturing of these machines would take time and considering the short timeline, the opposition parties must present their viewpoint with regard to it.
He said India had been using the electronic voting system since 1985. The voters’ biometric verification was made a part of the 2017 Election Reforms Act.
“In the new proposed electronic system, the old ballot system will remain intact,” he emphasized.
Replying to another query, he said the electronic system was adopted in Brazil, Congo, India and Philippines and in those countries having election controversaries.
When people in India could select their leadership with the help of latest technology, the same could be done here too, as the country required such system, he opined.
The president further explained that the EVMs would have no internet connection, so it could not be hacked.
Responding to objections of certain quarters, he said ‘by mixing apples and oranges you could spoil good things’. The good things should be conveyed properly, he added.
The paper balloting would not end rather it would be reformed, backed up with electronic and paper record, he added.
The president said in the whole exercise, ministries of parliamentary affairs, IT and science and technology were involved. The Election Commission of Pakistan through its representatives had also attended their meeting with regard to electronic voting system.