ECP never opposed use of EVMs as propagated: Sultan

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Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja on Wednesday said the Election Commission of Pakistan faced “unwarranted criticism” for allegedly opposing the use of electronic voting machines and balloting rights for overseas Pakistanis, saying the electoral watchdog was never opposed to them as was “widely propagated”.

The remarks from the ECP chief come in reference to the criticism from the PTI, particularly its chief Imran Khan, who has on multiple occasions called out the commission on various occasions for allegedly scuttling the introduction of EVMs in support of his political rivals — a claim it denies.

“I challenge all critics to show one instance where the ECP opposed electronic voting machines or voting rights for overseas Pakistanis, but there should be a procedure,” he said during his address in Islamabad, while insisting one should avoid raising slogans in favour of EVMs without considering the overall mechanism that would eventually make the entire election process “suspicious”.

He said local government elections in Punjab will take place in the last week of April. “We are conducting de-limitations again and the provincial government has been asked to ensure polls are held by the stipulated time.”

Sikandar Sultan said that Election Commission of Pakistan is ready for digital delimitations for next general elections in Pakistan. He said that the delimitation exercise will be carried out once the census is timely completed and approved by Council of Common Interests.

He added that ECP is taking all possible measures to bring transparency and assured of improved oversight in the next general elections.

The measures will increase the confidence of the people in ECP, said Sikandar Raja.

Raja said the ECP had already informed the Punjab government that the commission would make use of previous laws under Article 283 of the Constitution, if the administration attempted to again amend the local government law.