ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top election official said on Wednesday he was in favor of using technology to strengthen the polling process in the country, though he added that such a shift should help fulfil certain basic requirements to ensure transparent voting exercise.
The country’s previous administration of former prime minister Imran Khan sanctioned the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in February, though its political rivals resisted the move and vowed to challenge it in the country’s top court.
Pakistan’s election regulatory authority also opposed the introduction of EVMs on technical grounds while pointing out that their potential for misuse and tampering was too high.
However, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja told a gathering in Islamabad that his institution was not against EVMs and had taken steps to ensure electoral transparency under his tenure.
“The election commission supports the use of technology in the electoral process,” Radio Pakistan quoted him as saying while addressing an event to mark National Voters’ Day. “But the technology should be such on which all the stakeholders have consensus.”
He added the devices used for voting purposes should help people exercise their right to franchise easily while ensuring secrecy of vote.
“We have not opposed the EVMs or the voting right of overseas Pakistanis, but there should be a method for this,” he continued. “We cannot make general elections controversial in haste.”
Raja said the election commission had tried to make sure that the code of conduct for electoral process was duly implemented by taking action against violators across the board.
He noted that his institution was also serious about holding local bodies polls.