‘Stopping ECP funds’ was chat in PM Imran Khan’s absence, says Shibli Faraz

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Federal Science and Technology Minister Shibli Faraz. File photo
Federal Science and Technology Minister Shibli Faraz. File photo

ISLAMABAD: Federal Science and Technology Minister Shibli Faraz said Wednesday stopping funds for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) figured in an informal talk in the cabinet when the prime minister left for prayer.

Speaking in Geo News programme ‘Capital Talk’, he said it is for the ECP to conduct transparent election, and the government’s job is to facilitate the commission. He said the prime minister has set up a committee comprising four ministers to facilitate the ECP.

He remarked that the 2017 election law had not been followed in any by-election. The ECP had also failed to employ EVMs in election over the past, adding that it was wrong to talk about paucity of time as they still had 23 months.

On Tuesday, while briefing the media about federal cabinet meeting, Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain had warned the ECP that there was a likelihood of the government not being able to fund the upcoming elections if held sans the EVMs.

He emphasised that all institutions, including the ECP, were bound to move forward in line with the Parliament’s decisions (legislation). Fawad said the cabinet discussed the matter at length and agreed that the ECP was bound to use EVMs in by-elections. “And one of the points of view was that the government could not fund any election held without EVMs, as after the recent amendment, the law recognises polls involving the use of EVMs and noted Law Minister Farogh Naseem had the same viewpoint.

Discussing EVMs in the light of the recent amendment, the minister said the cabinet had formed a committee and the law ministry would also give its opinion. “It seems we will only be able to release funds to the Election Commission for polls where EVMs will be used,” he reiterated and added that the government now wanted the ECP to start working towards the induction of EVMs in elections.



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