The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday said that it had taken various steps regarding electronic voting machines (EVMs) even before the legislation was passed and that it was fully aware of its obligations, and no one should try to put it under duress.
A spokesperson of the ECP, referring to some media sections, stated that it was wrong to believe that the Commission was ignoring its responsibilities concerning the use of computerised voting machines.
“In this regard, the Election Commission wants to make it clear that even before the rules of the electronic voting machines, it has been taking various steps regarding the use of technology. Immediately after the related legislation, the Commission formed three committees regarding the technology, which gave a briefing to the Election Commission on their work on December 23, 2021,” he said.
The Commission maintained that purchasing an electronic voting machine was a technical process that required several stages in addition to international tendering, the most important of which were designing a scope of work for the automation of electoral processes, finalising general requirement specifications as per PPRA Rules, preparing technical specifications as per international standards, and identifying required functions, features, and business process flows to purchase an electronic voting machine.
The official stressed the importance of following PPRA rules and international standards when procuring these machines. The statement said that the ECP must also confirm that the machine’s vendor is not specific to that vendor, and third-party testing of the equipment must be undertaken. This equipment can be used to ensure that elections are free and fair. This technique is used by some people, it stated.
The ECP spokesperson said that there is a lack of clarity in this area, which leads to such reckless statements, which are equal to misleading the public, civil society, organisations, and the media.
“In this regard, if anyone needs any kind of explanation, then the doors of the Election Commission are open. None should interfere in the work of the Election Commission and this trend of putting pressure should end. The commission is obliged to discharge its responsibilities and will perform its duties without any pressure,” he said.