ECP earns rare praise from Fawad for constituting technical committees on EVMs, voting rights for OSPs

Published December 2, 2021
In this file photo, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry addresses a press conference at Governor House in Karachi on Aug 28. — APP/File
In this file photo, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry addresses a press conference at Governor House in Karachi on Aug 28. — APP/File

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday welcomed the Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) initiative to constitute technical committees for the use of electronic voting machines (EVM) and voting facility for overseas Pakistanis.

The government had, in a joint parliamentary session on Nov 17, managed to bulldoze amendments to the Elections Act, 2017, thereby allowing the use of electronic voting machines and granting voting rights to overseas Pakistanis — which the ruling party had been pressing for some time.

"The decisions of the parliament are honourable to all institutions," the minister said in a tweet.

Chaudhry stressed that the role of the ECP chairman and its members was significant in the election process and assured the commission of all-out cooperation from the government.

The ECP had a week ago formed three panels to ‘implement’ legislation on EVMs and voting facility for overseas Pakistanis.

Mandate of the three committees

According to the ECP, the first committee will look into the technical aspects, the second will oversee the financial cost of the process and the third will point out difficulties and suggest amendments to the existing laws and rules.

The technical committee, headed by the ECP secretary, has been mandated to look into electoral technologies, identify global standards and best international practices, the scope of work, policy, strategy of machine production, its technical and functional examination and prepare a final concept paper.

The second committee, headed by the additional secretary (admin), will look into the financial implications of introducing EVMs and overseas voting. It will make proposals concerning pilot testing and mechanism for their use. The committee will also make recommendations on the budget requirement of the ECP and other associated matters, including storage of EVMs on a short- and long-term basis.

The mandate of the third committee, headed by the director general (law), is to make a comparative analysis of the laws governing electoral processes, identify difficulties and suggest amendments to the existing laws and rules.

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