Hours after Senate Parliamentary Affairs Committee rejected a proposal regarding the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and i-voting in the next general elections, the federal government on Friday decided to call a joint session of parliament on the electoral reforms on Monday.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan, who was flanked by Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Senate committee member and Railways Minister Azam Swati, said that after the joint session of parliament, a session of National Assembly will also be called to debate over the issue.
"Opposition has not presented a single suggestion over the electoral reforms and has wasted two months," he added.
Read more: EVMs to be used in next elections: Awan
Awan said that he was only allowed to discuss five points out of the 37 objections raised by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to the proposed introduction of EVMs.
"A member from Balochistan who had joined the session via video link was denied right to vote as she was not physically present during the session," he added.
He alleged that the opposition was against giving the right to vote to overseas Pakistanis as it fears that it will increase the vote bank of Prime Minister Imran Khan. "Today the real face of opposition was revealed and their real motive is there for everyone to see," he added.
CEC has become a 'mouthpiece' of opposition: Fawad
On the occasion, Fawad Chaudhry alleged that the Chief Election Commissioner had become a "mouthpiece" of the opposition parties. "ECP's reasoning [over the EVM issue] is illogical. ECP cannot make laws… it is the job of the parliament… the behaviour of such an important institution is unfortunate," he said and added that it seemed that ECP had become a "headquarter" of the opposition.
Read Senate panel fails to satisfy members on EVMs
The minister alleged that the CEC had been in close contact with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and could have sympathy with him in a personal capacity.
Fawad said that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) wanted reforms in the electoral system in Pakistan because whenever a party losses, it says that the elections were rigged and no one is satisfied with the results.
He said that the government had suggested the use of technology as the Supreme Court had also suggested doing so. The information minister said ECP or any other institute must follow the parliament.
Lashing out at the opposition, he said that the opposition only thinks about the cases and tries to politicise every issue. Fawad said that Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is “doing a great job” exposing members of the opposition.
Read more EVMs: PPP sees conspiracy to undo 18th Amendment
"They (opposition) are throwing mud at each other… we don't have to do anything… even members of PML-N are talking against each other," he added.
Fawad said that if the ECP had any reservation regarding the use of technology during the general election then it should bring it to the government rather than taking the issue to the media. "CEC's job is not politics. If he wants to do politics then run for an election and get elected if he can," he added.
He further advised the CEC to behave like a head of a very critical institution of the country.
#Live: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry talking to media along with Railways Minister Azam Sawati and Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan in Islamabad https://t.co/CRWkparjwU
— Radio Pakistan (@RadioPakistan) September 10, 2021
(This story has been published from The Express Tribune feed, without modifications to the text)