ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday stressed that e-voting in the country is a process that needs to be marketed and promoted in order to ensure complete transparency in elections.
He was addressing a ceremony held at the President House on the occasion of National Voters Day. The event was held by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the purpose of sensitising people about the importance of a vote. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice retired Sardar Muhammad Raza was also in attendance.
“Use of electronic voting machines, digital identification and cameras will enhance the fairness of elections,” said the president.
Emphasising that the matter needs the attention of the parliament, ECP and government to steer clear of post-election controversy, the president spoke about the bad shape of polling stations. “When I brought a petition to the CEC in 2013, there were nearly 50 or 60 polling stations where there were no presiding officers or ballot boxes had reached because of terror. And this is from Karachi,” he said.
The president lauded the ECP for introducing the Result Management System (RMS) and added that the commission’s voter SMS service for the provision of polling station details brought out more voters out of their homes.
He said voting facility to overseas Pakistan was a positive step, which should be properly propagated in the media.
He stated that free and fair elections form the basis of democracy and progress of a country. “Democracy has been hijacked in the whole world with power and with money. I am requesting you [CEC] and legislators, whatever you have to decide on how the 2023 elections will be held should be decided beforehand,” he said.
Moreover, the president had shared that he has been a part of bribe culture as a youth.
Revealing that he had to pay Rs50,000 in bribe to have an analogue telephone installed in the 1970s, the president said: “When I became a dentist, I got a telephone installed. You will be astonished to hear that in those days, this was in the 1970s, Rs50,000 went in bribe only for the telephone’s installation”.