Staff Reporter Islamabad
The Prime Minister’s obsession with the electronic voting machines betrays a lack of understanding of the issues at best and a plan for manipulating next elections through technology so as to undo the 18th Constitutional amendment through a selected Par-liament at worst.
This was stated by PPPP Secretary General Farhatullah Babar in a statement on Saturday in response to the launch of a campaign at public ex-pense in support of the EVMs.
When simpler technological innovation like Result Transmission System in the 2018 elections is hi-jacked and even balloting for plots fails to arouse credibility, who will trust EVM technology in de-termining issues in transfer of power to the people, he asked? He said that real issues in electoral fraud were far too complex for the EVMs to address.
The EVMs can neither check booths capturing nor put to an end the mysterious midnight phone calls from ‘No Caller ID’.
The EVMs also cannot end summoning winning candidates to offices and ask to change loyalties, nor can it stop manipulations to disqualify party leaders from leadership and throw people out even from electoral contests.
About e-voting by expats he recalled that in 2012 NADRA had explored the proposition and was found that balloting will have to be held in embas-sies after electronic thumb verification by the em-bassy officials and concluded that it was problem-atic.
Credible reasons have not been spelt out as to how e-voting by expats without the involvement of Pak embassies abroad has become feasible now.
The real issue is the stealing of people’s mandate by newer and newer ways which came into sharp focus during the previous elections.
People’s mandate has been stolen by making and breaking political par-ties, by arm twisting to switch political loyalties and by propping up overnight mysterious militant groups to cut into the vote bank of mainstream po-litical parties.
Weak administrations in the driving seat face manipulations to toe the line or face desta-bilization by ideologues as in Faizabad dharna in 2017.
He said not the EVMs but the manipulated power transfer must be central to any discussion about putting the house in order.
Electronic voting will render several sections of the Election Act including 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89 and 90 redundant and required to be amended by amending the rules.
It amounts to making legislation contingent upon the dictates of an untested technology and bypass the Parliament in law making, he said.