The Saga of Electoral Reforms Bill

Written by The Frontier Post

According to the media, President Dr Arif Alvi has returned the Elections (Amendment) EVM/OP bill 2022 unsigned for the second consecutive time after citing certain reasons and recording his observations. According to the President, he had been pursuing the issue of EVM and Overseas Pakistanis Voting with all the governments, in the parliament, as well as at the Supreme Court of Pakistan since more than a decade. The President was of the view that besides, the proposed laws’ regressive nature, he strongly believes that today’s technology especially with EVMs when used judiciously contained many solutions that reduced the impact of confusion, discord and accusations in the ever-marred and challenged election processes. President questioned why the obvious was not visible to the opinion and decision makers would remain an enigma to him.

A ruckus is continuing between the coalition government and his excellency President of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi on the issue of approval of Elections (Amendment) EVM/OP bill 2022, a legislation passed by the parliament aims at undoing the Electoral amendments introduced by the PTI government last year regarding the use of EVMs and Overseas Pakistanis right to vote. However, his excellency returned the legislation twice without putting his stamp, rather he categorically mentioned his past work for the participation of overseas Pakistanis in the country’s electoral process, when he was secretary General of Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaaf and also acknowledged contributions of the Pakistani diaspora abroad for the country. On other hand, the sitting government also claims its support for the voting right of overseas Pakistanis but has linked this option with a pilot project to check the feasibility of the mechanism ahead of GE-2023. In fact, the PTI has been a Chief Supporter of the overseas Pakistanis and aspects massive turnout from abroad if the law persists in the coming election, therefore, former Secretary General PTI fears that political rivals can play a trick with the party’s heirloom and stall the path to the victory in the next contest. Apparently, the saga of I-voting has become a political issue and both sides are assessing their scopes instead of fairness and transparency of the process.

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