By: Asem Mustafa Awan
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has written a letter to the government, demanding money in order to produce electronic voting machines (EVMs) for the upcoming general elections of 2023.
As per the ECP’s stated demand, at least 800,000 EVMs will be mass produced for the upcoming general elections, which require a lot of money. In addition, the ECP has also asked the government to provide a warehouse where 800,000 EVMs can be kept safely, besides training of operators.
It was said in the letter that shifting from decades old election procedures to the new ones require changing of mindset and the mould of the polling staff. As, the polling offices were kidnapped, the electoral boxes were snatched during a recently-held by poll and most notably the incumbent Prime Minister protest demonstration at the D-Chowk, Islamabad which went on for 126 days.
Holding of free and fair election since 1970 has been a distant dream and they are believed to be the only election in the history of Pakistan which was free and fair and the result was partition of Pakistan.
The opposition parties namely Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and Pakistan People’s Party have had their turns one after the other but sadly none of them could muster the courage to do the electoral reform.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf with Prime Minister Imran Khan made efforts to reform the decades-old electoral system and passed bills from the joint sitting of the Parliament. Initially, ECP was reluctant but now showed willingness to hold next elections through EVMs.
Pakistan has now a real leader who is taking steps to get the country out of the quagmire which was plunged into crisis due to unfathomable corruption and nepotism.
Half a century and more has passed but the change from the tried and tested election procedure which always had corrupt practices with fake and bogus voting lists is now coming to an end. The resistance is there but if the government wants to give Pakistan a fair chance with head held high the request from ECP should be met at the earliest.
Pakistan and its over 200 million inhabitants need a break and a chance to witness the progress and prosperity as envisioned by the great Quiad the founding father of the nation Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Prime Minister Imran Khan deserves all kudos for historic and landmark achievement though the masses owing to corruption and cartels are faced with myriads of issues with foremost sustenance.
The public still has faith that there is a ray of hope. Taking control and the decision to make their own choices unlike the past, is in fact the beginning of the new era.
The real empowerment and control back to the masses is the historic step in the history of Pakistan which will make or break the nation. The electable in Pakistan have history of switching sides and double crossing will be faced with apprehensions in the forthcoming elections.
Pakistan has a bright future ahead and it is in the hands of the government to make it possible.