ECP forms technical committee on EVMs

By Uzma Zafar

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday set up a technical committee to look into the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs).
The development follows on the heels of Science and Technology Minister Shibli Faraz’s presentation on the working of EVMs developed by his ministry.
In a statement, the ECP said the committee would present a report after examining the voting machines. It also approved engaging technical consultants in the task.
Earlier in the day, the minister claimed that the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) expressed satisfaction over the EVMs developed by his ministry.
Talking to the media outside the ECP after giving presentation on EVMs, he said satisfactory answers were given to questions asked by ECP officials about the voting machines.
“The consensus has been developed on the use of technology in the 2023 election”, he said.
Meanwhile, Supreme Court (SC) Tuesday in its verdict on the Presidential Reference said the Senate elections would be held through secret balloting under Article 226 of the Constitution of Pakistan.
SC cleared that constitution confusion and said under the said article, all elections except for the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers would be held through the secret balloting.
The apex court said the SC had advisory jurisdiction and the President of Pakistan could seek legal opinion from it.
The court further said in its legal interpretation of Section 122 (6) of the Election Act 2017 that the Senate elections would be held by secret ballot and the Article 220 of the Constitution gave the power to legislate on corruption and other crimes to the parliament. Anyhow, Article 220 of the constitution prohibited the Parliament from enacting a law on withdrawal of powers of Election Commission or Chief Election Commissioner, the court verdict said. The verdict further elaborated that the Election Commission has the power to ensure clean and transparent elections.
The verdict also said that according to Article 220, the federal and provincial executive authorities were bound to assist the Election Commission. It is worth mentioning here that Supreme Court Judge Justice Yahya Afridi gave a note of dissent in the case decision and said the presidential reference was not of a legal nature. He said bringing the political matter in court means a threat to democratic opinion.He said disappointment with the political system did not mean that the court could give a better solution to it, the function of the courts was not to interfere in other state institutions.