Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday censured the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for opposing electronic voting machines (EVMs).
The prime minister’s comments came during his address to members of the parliament, where he laid emphasis on electoral reforms, saying that EVMs were necessary for free and fair elections.
The premier said that over the past 50 years, Pakistan had failed at conducting elections that were free, fair, transparent and acceptable to all parties.
The government is responsible for bringing electoral reforms, he said, as he mentioned that PTI had staged a 126-day sit-in in 2014 to push for reforms.
“We wanted to bring reforms so that the next elections would be fair,” he said.
Highlighting the importance of electoral reforms, he said that the 2018 general elections were termed as “rigged” by the PML-N despite the election personnel being appointed during their tenure.
Politicians are aware of what happens during Senate elections, he said.
“Videos surfaced that money was being distributed [for horse-trading]. This is how low our moral values have fallen. The public representatives are seen putting money in their bags, while the election commission and the government look on silently.”
“The Supreme Court said that verifiable vote should be introduced in Senate elections, but the Opposition parties and election commission opposed it,” he said, wondering why the government was being criticised for electoral reforms as it would gain no “personal benefit” from it.
The prime minister asked when everyone knew that horse-trading takes place in Senate elections, then why did the election commission and Opposition oppose electoral reforms.
The prime minister wondered why the election commission and the Opposition opposed the electoral reforms despite videos showing lawmakers taking money.
The prime minister wondered why the Opposition parties and the election commission had supported the secrecy of the ballot during the Senate elections.
PM Imran Khan said the government had sought input from the Opposition over the past year-and-a-half on how reforms could be introduced for EVMs.
He lamented how “nothing happened” even after videos emerged of senators allegedly receiving bribes for their votes.
The prime minister said he had entered politics to bring about change in the country, and that the goal behind “Naya Pakistan” was to put the nation back on track to fulfil its founders’ aims.
“They had put their health on the back seat […] in their struggle to form a country in line with Islamic teachings,” he said, adding that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had established Riasat-e-Madina and set an example for the rest of the world.
The prime minister said Scandinavian countries, China, and Jews were progressing as they had followed the way of the Prophet. “Any person who follows his footsteps will thrive.”
The premier said if a nation’s morality remains intact, they cannot be beaten even with atomic bombs — just like Japan. PM Imran Khan said corruption thrives when a nation’s moral values have declined.