ISLAMABAD: All aspects have been taken into consideration, especially security and reliability, while developing the electronic voting machine (EVM), Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz said on Wednesday.
“As far as the Ministry of Science and Technology is concerned, it has incorporated all requirements of the Election Commission, and it was now up to the commission to decide whether the EVM was according to its standards,” Mr Faraz said while speaking at a media briefing at the Parliament House where the government had scheduled a demonstration of EVMs for lawmakers.
The federal minister said the machines could not be hacked and did not need internet connectivity, adding that they could neither be tampered with nor rigged.
“They were the answer to a fair and transparent voting mechanism with immediate and reliable results,” Mr Faraz said, calling upon lawmakers to test the EVM on display for their satisfaction.
The science and technology ministry was coordinating with the ECP, which was the biggest stakeholder for a demonstration either before or immediately after Muharram, the minister said.
Says machines cannot be hacked, did not require internet connectivity
Responding to questions on how EVMs functioned, Shibli Faraz said it was not possible to cast votes repeatedly.
“The machine paused after a vote was cast and was not connected with the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra),” he explained.
He also explained that voters’ identity would remain confidential and that votes would not be verified through thumb impressions but voters’ lists instead.
The minister said 3pc of the votes or a total of 1.8 million votes were wasted throughout the country during the general elections and margins of victory often came down to one or two votes.
“EVMs would eliminate this waste,” he assured.
Meanwhile, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser took to Twitter after testing the EVM.
“Free and fair elections by using technological advancements are pivotal to ensure transparency in electoral process and strengthen democracy in Pakistan,” Mr Qaiser said while congratulating the Ministry of Science and Technology.
According to Shibli Faraz, the new EVM was simple and user-friendly for voters as well as the polling staff and eliminated chances of rigging.
“The machine could not be hacked as it was developed using indigenous technology without an operating system and did not require an internet connection,” he said.
Earlier in May, the prime minister had invited the opposition to sit down with the government and participate in bringing electoral reforms such as the use of EVMs to restore credibility of local polls.
Last week, the Ministry of Science and Technology gave Prime Minister Imran Khan a demonstration of the locally-manufactured voting device.
Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2021