Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed on Friday said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would have the last word on the issue of conducting the elections through electronic voting machines (EVMs) as the commission’s satisfaction is vital in this regard.
AGP Khalid Jawed is part of the four-member Government Coordinating Committee, along with Azam Swati and Babar Awan as its members, and Federal Minister for Science and Technology Senator Shibli Faraz as its head to assist the ECP on matters of the voting machine and internet voting.
“The election commission’s overarching and fundamental constitutional mandate is to hold free and fair elections and how it makes it possible — through EVMs or some other means — is a secondary issue,” he said while speaking during a television talk show.
“ECP’s satisfaction as to which modus operandi it deems fit to conduct free and fair elections is highly important.”
The ECP has not declined to conduct the elections through EVMs as it has formed three high-powered committees for the implementation aspect, he said. It is also incumbent upon the government to assist the ECP along with funds, the AGP asserted.
“A controversy will be created when the ECP technically concludes that it can’t hold free and fair elections through EVMs,” he said replying to a query regarding objections of the Opposition parties that termed the machines “the government’s effort to rig the elections.”
Khalid Jawed said the election law has been passed following the process enshrined in the Constitution. If someone does not believe so, they can challenge it, he noted.
The new elections law is an enabling provision that has empowered the ECP to adopt a technological method, the AGP said, adding that voting for overseas Pakistanis and EVMs are not new amendments.
“They previously existed as the pilot projects and now their scope has been expanded to include general elections,” he said.
Hence, he continued, the Opposition should demonstrate magnanimity and join the process. Replying to a query, the AGP said the “law does not admit of any major flaw for the court to strike it down, however, the court will decide the matter if Opposition parties decide to challenge it.
The AGP also opposed the extension of the NAB chairman’s term and objected to the decision, saying it could raise questions about the bureau’s transparency and impartiality.
“One term is enough to work effectively,” he concluded.
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