ECP waiting for Government approval to use Electronic voting machines
The election commission of Pakistan is currently waiting for the Government approval to start the process of procuring 300,000 automatic voting machines for general elections 2018. According to the sources, the total cost of electronic voting machines will be Rs30 billion to the national exchequer. The PM has yet to make a decision so that ECP will start the process.
The entire process is becoming clumsy because it has a direct link with the electoral reforms process which has remained a limbo. On the other hand, ECP Secretary on 4th April has written a letter to National Assembly speaker through National Assembly secretary requisition to expedite the process of electoral reforms.
The letter says that since the General Elections of 2018 will soon be approaching the commission, so it is best to implement a fast and immediate process for the elections. Before the expiry of the term, at least 15 tasks must be taken well. Among all of these 15 tasks, some of are the redescription and the delimitation of constituencies, update or electoral rolls, appointment, and training of ROs, DROs, AROs, enlistment of political parties, list of polling personnel, preparation of polling station and the finalization of codes, security and polling personnel as well as media coverage.
While citing Section 14, the EECP Secretary said on a Draft Election Law 2017 that Election Commission would need at least six months before the general elections to prepare a comprehensive plan.
He expressed apprehensions in the delay of enactment of new Election Act followed by parliament that timely completion is essential for the plan to be implemented which will become a tremendous challenge for ECP to impact the quality of election. The ECP Secretary said that the parliamentary committee on electoral Reforms had its meeting on 20th December 2016 and had presented the Draft Election Act 2017 by providing copies to all members of Parliament and other stakeholders.
However, ECP is making efforts to assist the parliamentary committee by providing draft legislative proposals, the conditional statements of existing and proposed legislation, international best practices in respect of Unified Election Laws and the modalities for introduction of electoral technology.