ECP to issue notices to Fawad, Swati over allegations amid EVMs row

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ISLAMABAD – The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to issue notices to two PTI federal ministers over levelling allegations against the chief election commissioner and the election body amid row over use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in next general elections.

The decision was taken during a meeting of ECP officials chaired by CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja. The meeting has rejected all allegations made by Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Railways Minister Azam Khan Swati.

ECP has sought relevant record from Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) besides asking its officers to get details about proceedings of meeting of Senate standing committee.

On September 10, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain lashed out at ECP after it raised objection over the use of electronic voting machines in elections.

The information minister was addressing a press conference, flanked by Railways Minister Azam Swati and PM’s aide on parliamentary affairs Babar Awan.

Calling Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja a “spokesperson of Opposition”, Fawad said that the ECP head should resign and take part in politics.

“It seems that election commission  has become headquarters of Opposition,” he said.

He said that PML-N leader “Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and his company” were trying to make the legal amendments related to use of EVMs controversial.

He said that ECP had lost the trust of public, adding that the chief election commissioner had been in close contact with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Fawad said that the PTI in its manifesto had promised to ensure transparency in elections, adding that ECP should not become a mouthpiece of the Opposition.

Earlier in the day, Azam Khan Swati hit out at ECP, accusing it of “always” rigging polls and taking bribe. He said that such institutions should be put on fire.

He made these remarks during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs chaired by Senator Taj Haider to discuss proposed amendments to the Elections (Amendment) Act, 2021.

The standing committee has 14 members with four from the PTI, three from the PPP, two from PML-N, two independents, and one each from the BAP, the MQM-P and the JUI-P.

The committee has rejected most of the government-backed amendments including the use of EVMs, voting right to overseas Pakistanis.

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