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Shehbaz rejects E-voting proposal

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif has rejected the government’s proposal to use electronic voting machines, saying such decisions cannot be made by one individual.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the PML-N chief said the sensitive process of electoral reforms is undertaken with the will and confidence of the entirety of the nation. “The reforms come to fore through consultation between all the sides involved and in the light of the masses’ opinion and unanimity,” he said.

He went on to add that “crucial national steps do not take place on the aspirations or order of one individual”. He termed the parliament a centre and reflection of the aspirations of the people and he said: “It has been locked up for the last three years.”

“We can undertake electoral reforms as we have the patience and will to take political rivals along and implement their proposals,” he pledged, recalling that the PML-N undertook “historic political reforms” with the consultation of all political parties, including the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

“No one had objected to those reforms as it was a reflection of endorsement by all,” he said, adding that “the opposition was mocked by chants of NRO as it attempted to introduce the charter of economy and other “positive” propositions”. Shehbaz added that the world has rejected electronic voting and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had also termed it unviable.

He advised the ruling PTI to instead pay attention to the economy, skyrocketing inflation, joblessness, and the miserable conditions of the masses.

Responding to the PML-N’s stance, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry lamented that the N-League was “avoiding the proposed reforms” “Why would a party that always came into power though conspiracies talk about reforms,” he twitted. On Saturday, Prime Minister Imran Khan while referring to the claims of rigging in NA-249 Karachi by-polls and Senate elections reiterated that electronic voting machines (EVMs) were the only answer to reclaim the credibility of elections in the country, and invited the opposition to sit with the government and “select an EVM model we have available”.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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