350,000 EVMs to be made in six months: minister

Published July 7, 2021
Shibli Faraz said that the EVMs would be launched after Eidul Azha for the members of the National Assembly and the Election Commission of Pakistan for vetting and to convince them of its benefits. — APP/File
Shibli Faraz said that the EVMs would be launched after Eidul Azha for the members of the National Assembly and the Election Commission of Pakistan for vetting and to convince them of its benefits. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz said on Tuesday that to make elections fair and transparent, between 350,000 and 400,000 electronic voting machines (EVMs) were required, which would be manufactured in six months.

“Using indigenous technologies, the EVMs are being developed at half the cost of imported devices by the National University for Science and Technology, COMSATS and National Institute of Engineering,” Mr Faraz said in a meeting with media persons, conveying the prime minister’s wish to put the controversy over the electoral process to an end.

Says voter using the device to remain anonymous as information will be encrypted

He said that the EVMs would be launched after Eidul Azha for the members of the National Assembly and the Election Commission of Pakistan for vetting and to convince them of its benefits.

With the aim to prove that technology was the only solution to improve the electoral process, the minister said, once the EVMs were developed, they would be tested in by-elections.

He explained that the three institutes had the capacity to manufacture 2,000 EVMs on daily basis, each device costing an estimated Rs65,000, which was half the price of an imported device which had no guarantee of working properly.

He said that a special paper would be used in the machines on which ink would not fade or dull for five years. “Counting votes would be a push of a button away and could be completed between 30 minutes to one hour,” he said.

To put an end to controversies, he said, the PM had tasked the Ministry of Science and Technology with developing an EVM that would make the voting process transparent.

He said that the EVMs would have battery life of two days. While, the machines would be tested against cyber attacks, the identity of the voter would remain anonymous as information would be encrypted. The EVMs would operate in areas where temperature drops to 10 degrees below zero and also in localities where mercury touches 55 degrees centigrade mark.

“No kind of tampering with the machine would be possible,” the minister said.

“The idea is that competent and qualified individuals should be elected as members of the parliament. Fair and transparent elections would enhance the functioning of the parliament. The entire country would be able to benefit from the use of advanced technology,” Mr Faraz said.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2021

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