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‘Federal Cabinet issues two green light ordinances for electoral reform’

‘Federal Cabinet issues two green light ordinances for electoral reform’

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Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry is addressing a press conference on May 4, 2021 in Islamabad. – YouTube screening

On Tuesday, Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the federal cabinet had approved two ordinances in line with efforts to reform the country’s electoral process.

One ordinance deals with electronic voting, while the other aims to facilitate Pakistani voters abroad.

The move comes just days after the PPP’s victory in the NA-249 by-elections, in which harsh words were exchanged between the opposition parties as well as criticism against the government. N) called the election a “theft”.

This came at a time when Prime Minister Imran Khan extended an invitation to opposition parties to sit down with the government and work on electoral reforms to make the elections more transparent.

Addressing a post-cabinet press conference in Islamabad today, Chaudhry said that the federal cabinet had passed both the ordinances for the same purpose.

“The government’s electoral reforms consist of four parts: EVMs, e-voting for Pakistanis abroad, the use of biometric verification, and legislation,” the minister said.

The Minister said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will now be able to use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the next elections.

“The Election Commission will also work to develop a strategy to allow Pakistanis abroad to cast their votes,” the Information Minister said.

Chaudhry said the government has completed work on legislation on electronic voting, while technology for the biometric voting system is still in the works.

Talking about the ECP’s decision to allow recount in the entire NA-249 constituency, Chaudhry said the PTI demanded re-polling instead.

The minister said there was one of the “worst” rigging in history during the NA-249 by-election, and that was why the ECP had ordered a recount.

The federal minister said it would be a “joke” if someone with “so few votes” entered the National Assembly. PPP’s Abdul Qadir Mandokhel won with 16,156 votes. On the other hand, PTI candidate Amjad Ali Afridi got 8,922 votes.

The Information Minister said that Corona virus SOPs were not being followed in Karachi and the Sindh government should start work to improve the situation there. “The Cabinet has approved Sindh’s request for deployment of troops to ensure implementation of SOPs.”

Chaudhry said the federal government has decided to increase the Eid-ul-Fitr holidays to curb the spread of the corona virus.

On the vaccination front, the Minister said that the anti-vaccine lobby is active not only in Pakistan but all over the world. “People who get vaccinated will be protected from the corona virus.”

Chaudhry said the federal cabinet had also approved a 90-day grace period for prisoners on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr. However, amnesty will not apply to prisoners convicted of more serious crimes.

The Information Minister said that the facility of obtaining succession certificates through NADRA would now be provided to Pakistanis abroad, and in the first phase, tables would be opened in 24 embassies.

He said that the Cabinet has approved the issuance of commemorative coins to NED University Karachi to pay homage to the 100th anniversary of its establishment.

The Minister said that the Cabinet has also approved 10% holding tax exemption on private sector bids in Railways.

Chaudhry said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s forthcoming visit to Saudi Arabia would help in enhancing bilateral relations. The Prime Minister will leave for the kingdom on the 25th of Ramadan.