Govt to introduce e-voting in general polls, open ballot in Senate

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday said the government had decided to introduce electronic voting in general election and also move a bill in parliament to amend the current mode of secret ballot in Senate polls to show of hands, in a bid to ensure fair and transparent polls.

Talking to media after his meeting with the Electoral Reforms Committee, the Prime Minister said the bill aimed at discouraging ‘vote selling’ in the upcoming Senate elections in March.

Imran Khan said the constitutional amendment required two-third majority for the passage of bill, adding that “it would reveal which political party would side or oppose corrupt practices”.

He said the move was unprecedented on part of a sitting government and recalled that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in 2018 had shown door to 20 of its lawmakers on evidence of selling their votes.

On electronic voting, he said, consultations with Election Commission were underway to devise a system in collaboration with the data provided by National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).

Besides ensuring transparency, he said, the computerized system would also benefit the nine million Pakistanis living abroad to help them conveniently poll their votes online.

The Prime Minister thanked the people of Gilgit Baltistan for reposing confidence in PTI during the recent election and lauded the big turnout even from far-flung areas despite tough weather conditions.

He said that the government would take every possible step to bring development in GB.

He said his government stood by its pledge to grant provisional provincial status to GB to end their sense of deprivation, as per the longstanding demand of locals.

Imran Khan said the people of GB would be kept updated about step-by-step phases leading towards the formulation of their province.

He dismissed the allegations of Opposition parties of rigging in the GB polls and stressed the need for a spirit among political parties to accept defeat.

He recalled that the purpose behind PTI’s demand to open four constituencies after 2013 general election and the 126-day sit-in was to set in place a system of transparent and free polls in future.

Even as skipper of cricket team, Khan said, he always campaigned for neutral umpires in the matches.

The Prime Minister expressed confidence that with implementation of electoral reforms, the country would witness a norm among political parties to have faith in polling process and accept the results.