ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister’s Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan said Wednesday that the government would complete legislative process for use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in next elections, i-voting and voting right to Overseas Pakistanis before culmination of current year.

“The legislation process would be completed this year after approval from the Senate or even through joint session of Parliament,” he said while speaking at a press conference here along with Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Communication. The advisor said that upcoming general elections in 2023 would be transparent and fair and complete cooperation would be made with Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the purpose. He said that NADRA had also requested for Rs 2.2 billion and the government would ensure all available resources for conduct of free and fair elections. Babar Awan urged the opposition to show political wisdom and stand with government for ensuring transparent elections. 

“The government, ministers and parliamentary functionaries have invited the opposition several times but received no encouraging response,” he said adding that oppositions wanted NRO as they demanded during FATF related legislation.

 

The advisor said that Supreme Court had also directed for right of vote to overseas Pakistanis and termed their rights equal to those residing in the country. He said that EVM had not been prepared by the government and public would be given demos of this prototype machine through road shows being planned by the Ministry of Science and Technology. Babar Awan said that elections in cantonment boards on September 12 would be transparent and the opposition’s hue and cry before conduct of elections was irrational. He said the opposition raised questions after defeat in elections like of AJK, Gilgit and Sialkot but it remained silent after winning elections.

Babar Awan also shared the details of Supreme Court verdict in a case related to general elections 2013.

He said that 2013 elections were rigged as 35 percent `Form 15’ in Punjab and mostly throughout Pakistan were found missing as per 237-page report written by three honorable judges of Supreme Court.

He said that printing press was hired before GE-2013 with the purpose to rig elections while vote-round up formula was not implemented in Punjab.

More than 92,000 thumb impressions could not be identified and the demand of PTI to open four constituencies was declined, he added.

Earlier, the advisor said that no proposal or bill was under consideration of government to limit the power of the judiciary, its independent working and institutional authority.  

He said that government had neither prepared any constitutional bill nor supported any legislative proposal regarding appointment of judges in apex court or superior courts.

Babar Awan said that no proposal was under consideration regarding power of Supreme Court and authority of President about it, increase in age limit of high courts’ judges and their seniority.

 The government, he said, believed in complete freedom of judiciary and its institutional authority.

 

Also, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill on Wednesday expressed confidence that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) would be used in the next general elections to ensure free, fair and transparent polls in the country. He said the next general elections would be not held in traditional way.

 

He urged the opposition to evaluate the EVMs themselves instead of protesting against the initiatives so that their apprehensions could be addressed. While regretting attitude of Maryam Safdar, Gill said the court awarded seven-ten and one year sentence to Maryam Nawaz Sharif and Capt (R) Safdar respectively in corruption cases. The courts did not suspend their sentence in the corruption cases and they were out on bails, he added.

 

He said Shehbaz Sharif openly sought NRO concession the other day by proposing setting up national government. However, the SAPM categorically said that No NRO would be given to the corrupt leaderships at any cost although they were using EVMs for bargaining. He said EVMs would also be utilised during press clubs, bars, clubs elections.

 

He said media persons would be invited in next few days for giving practical demonstration about EVMs.

Gill said that Shehbaz Sharif should tendered resignation from the PML-N president slot as the party has rejected his statement. He said Marriyum Aurangzeb has become Personal Secretary to Maryam Safdar.