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Opposition fearful of a machine, says PM Imran about EVMs

16 Nov, 2021
Prime minister Imran Khan addressing during the launch ceremony of the Lilla Jhelum Dual Carriageway.
Prime minister Imran Khan addressing during the launch ceremony of the Lilla Jhelum Dual Carriageway.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday that he finds it surprising the opposition parties are fearful of the electronic voting machine (EVM), adding that the government's only aim is to introduce electoral reforms before the next general elections to improve the transparency of the voting process.

The premier made the remarks during the launch ceremony of the Lilla Jhelum Dual Carriageway, which was inaugurated on a large display screen by Imran Khan.

"I was reflecting on the fact that we used technology and inaugurated this project with the touch of a hand, and that technology has come so far. I am surprised to see the opposition [resists technology], insisting that voting take place traditionally," the prime minister said.

He said the entire world is adopting technology to make the voting process more transparent.

Reports suggest that the ruling party wants to present the long-awaited electoral reforms bill in Wednesday's joint session of the parliament.

The premier further said that with the advent of technology, information was simply a click away, and no government can hide its performance any longer.

"People can find out very easily who did what, what conditions prevailed when the government came into power," he said.

He said his government aimed to first stabilise the country and then bring about long-term development. "Countries advance when they think of future generations while planning," he said.

"They don't think of the upcoming elections. They think of our youth, which forms 60% of our population, and what is to be done for them," he added.

The premier further said that his government was the first to focus on Pakistan's future, and not just try to implement projects without any value to win elections.

He said Pakistan faces a serious environmental crisis and our cities have become polluted. "When we started the plantation campaign in KP, everyone laughed at us and now everyone is acknowledging our efforts," he said.

He said that mass corruption is Pakistan's real challenge and the current government was working to bring a system where anyone can be held accountable.

He lauded the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) for taking effective decisions that aided Pakistan's fight against the coronavirus. "In the past 100 years, the world hasn't seen a bigger crisis than the coronavirus pandemic," he said.

"We were internationally acknowledged for being one of the few countries to deal with Covid-19 in the best manner."

The premier said that inflation in the country was due to the rise of prices internationally. He said the oil prices had doubled in the last few months, adding that we may have to increase petroleum prices further.

The premier said Pakistan's economic recovery was currently underway, adding that the country's inflationary pressure would reduce after the post-pandemic situation improves.

Earlier this month, the Prime Minister announced a Rs120-billion relief package that offered subsidised rates on ghee, pulses, and wheat flour. However, critics have termed the package insufficient given the inflationary pressures facing the lower-income group.

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*This first appeared in Business Recorder on Nov 16, 2021.*