ISLAMABAD: Criticizing the Election Commission of Pakistan, Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has expressed his reservations over the conduct of the Chief Election Commissioner saying that it seems that the CEC and the opposition are in league in their opposition to the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and uttering the same language.
After being served a notice from ECP for alleging the institution had become a party in the electronic voting machine (EVM) matter and is supporting the opposition, he again alleged that the CEC was representing the opposition parties.
The minister alleged that the CEC seemed to be against the reforms, government wanted to introduce in the electoral process, asking him to keep himself away from the controversies. “And if the CEC cannot detach himself from the controversies, then he should resign from the office of the chief election commissioner and join politics,” Fawad Ch insisted.
Fawad Ch asked two members of the ECP to come forward and review the decision of their CEC.
Fawad said the government has concerns regarding the conduct of CEC (Raja Sikandar). He claimed that the ECP was hiding the benefits of EVMs in their reports.
The minister levelled allegations on the CEC that he was against the government (electoral) reforms.
Fawad Ch was speaking in a joint news conference at Press Information Department (PID), Islamabad along with the Minister for Science Shibli Faraz on Sunday. “It looks like the ECP has already taken a decision to oppose the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs),” Fawad Ch claims.
He asserted that there was an ongoing campaign against the EVMs. He said he only spoke on behalf of the government.
Commenting on the role of the opposition, Fawad Ch said, “The PPP and the PML-N are there to stage protests only and they would even join Satan if the devil goes out for staging a protest.” The minister maintained that the government wanted next elections to be free and fair.
Fawad Ch said the government wanted to take the opposition in confidence on the electoral reforms but the opposition attitude towards reforms was not serious and they only talked about their cases. He emphasised that 2023 general elections were only possible after electoral reforms.
Science Minister Shibli Faraz said that the ECP did not cooperate with the government on the EVMs and ‘they have only one charge sheet in their 37 allegations’. He said the ECP was not showing interest in the use of EVMs.
Earlier, Federal Minister Azam Swati had accused the election commission of taking bribes from the companies to manufacture EVMs. “ECP has taken a bribe,” Azam Swati had alleged. “You will go to hell,” he said, pointing to ECP officials who were in attendance in the meeting called to deliberate and vote on two key bills on the use of electronic voting machines in elections and voting rights for overseas Pakistanis.