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CEC seeks location for project management unit

15 Jan, 2022
Such a requirement comes after Science and Technology Minister Shibli Faraz told a [presser][1] in Islamabad on January 10 that the Election Commission of Pakistan has “agreed” with the government on the use of electronic voting machines in Islamabad local government elections. File
Such a requirement comes after Science and Technology Minister Shibli Faraz told a [presser][1] in Islamabad on January 10 that the Election Commission of Pakistan has “agreed” with the government on the use of electronic voting machines in Islamabad local government elections. File

Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja on Saturday said he was looking for a location to establish the project management unit as part of the country’s electoral authority efforts to use technology in the voting process, Aaj News reported.

Such a requirement comes after Science and Technology Minister Shibli Faraz told a presser in Islamabad on January 10 that the Election Commission of Pakistan has “agreed” with the government on the use of electronic voting machines in Islamabad local government elections.

“The science and technology ministry will provide a specific number of EVMs to the ECP by next week for testing purposes so that the ECP could train its staff and convey its observations [to us],” he had said, “The question of either EVM will be used in the elections or not is now meaningless.”

In a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, CEC Raja wrote the ECP was taking measures for using the technology in the election process. Raja also suggested four different buildings for setting up the unit.

“The guest room of Pakistan Academy of Sciences could be used for setting up the unit, PCSI’s guest house, an empty floor of the science and technology ministry, and any building from the Sir Syed Memorial Society could be used for establishing the project management unit,” it read.

It added the appointments of IT professionals for establishing the unit was at the final stage. “The IT teams will work for electronic voting machines, I-voting and the use of technology in the election process,” the letter read.

It is pertinent to mention that the opposition has expressed concerns over the use of EVM in the elections. It had also resisted the government’s move to oppose the amendments to the Elections Act, 2017, in the joint session of parliament, but in vain as the treasury benches managed to bulldoze the tweaks through parliament.

The amendment would allow the use of EVMs and grant voting rights to overseas Pakistanis.

“How can we accept your suggestion where Pakistanis sitting in Paris, California and Britain decide for the people of Karachi and the tribal areas? They should have their own electoral college,” PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had said in his speech.