Pakistan

Electronic and overseas voting: Pakistan PM announces electoral reforms

Decision taken to ensure fair and fair elections

Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced electoral reforms for the country to ensure that all the upcoming elections are free and fair.

 

While addressing the media on Tuesday, he said that they are bringing the following changes to the electoral system:

  • Electronic voting
  • Allowing overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes
  • A constitutional amendment to make sure senators vote during senate elections through a show of hands.

 

He remarked that he wants people to accept defeat gracefully because of which the PTI government has been working on these reforms.

The premier started his speech by thanking the people of Gilgit-Baltistan for coming out of their houses in extreme temperatures and casting their votes. “I promise you that you will receive the same rights as other citizens of Pakistan,” he said, adding that this is why the government worked towards giving a provisional provincial status to the region.

2013 vs 2018 elections

The PM said that he will explain the difference between the rigging allegations during the 2013 and 2018 general elections too.

After the 2013 elections, the PML-N itself said that rigging had occurred in Sindh. My party just focused on four constituencies. If the votes had been recounted in those constituencies then the PTI wouldn’t have won the election. “We couldn’t have formed a government even then,” he remarked. “We just wanted the election authorities to audit those four constituencies and bring the truth in front of everyone.”

At least 133 petitions were filed in the Election Commission challenging the results of the elections, of which 23 were filed by the PTI.

In comparison, only 102 petitions were filed in the ECP challenging the results of the 2018 General Election. Of those, only 15 were filed by the PML-N and 9 by PPP.

“I even directed [Pervaiz] Khattak to form a committee and hear the grievances of the opposition members,” said the PM. They attended one meeting and stopped coming after that. “This was their seriousness in 2018.”

When I was campaigning against the rigging in 2013, I went to the Election Commission and then the Electional Tribunal after which I knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court. We did everything we could and staged protests a year later because we want to reform the electoral process, he added.

“We collected evidence and took it to the Supreme Court,” the PM said. “I ran the campaign for free and fair elections in the country.”

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