ECP Rejects govt’s Intimidation to Rush EVMs purchase

ECP rejects govt's 'intimidation to rush EVMs purchase

According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the government’s pressure and intimidation have sped up the process of placing tenders to purchase electronic voting machines (EVMs). The commission asserted that it holds constitutional authority to accomplish the task. Sources who are privy to the matter told The Express Tribune that the ECP alleged pressure on the electoral body to expedite the floatation of tenders for the purchase of the machines by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Committees must submit their reports within four weeks after which the ECP will proceed with the other related issues, including tenders, by hiring a consultant in accordance with the committee’s recommendations. Sources in the ECP also claimed that the government was intimidating the electoral watchdog through media and statements. According to a law passed by a joint sitting of parliament, the Election Commission of Pakistan formed three committees on November 23 to calculate the expenses of electronic voting machines and amend the rules and regulations governing their use. The second committee on EVM spending, headed by the ECP supplementary secretary (admin), will report to the committee on how much money will be spent on the voting machines and systems.

The organization will also carry out pilot testing of the machines and mechanisms using them.  The Committee will make recommendations on project implementation, budgetary requirements, and machinery maintenance. Its recommendations will be communicated to the government so that it can organize safe storage in the short and long term. A third committee, headed by the commission’s director-general of law, has been established to make proposals and recommendations for amendments to existing laws and rules. Shibli Faraz, Minister of Science and Technology, briefed the cabinet on how EVMs will be used and the number of machines required for the upcoming elections, he said.

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