ECP can overrule amendments seeking use of EVMs: former ECP official

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LAHORE: National Democratic Foundation (NDF) Chairman Kanwar Muhammad Dilshad has said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) enjoys constitutional powers to reject the amendments to the Election Act 2017.

A joint session of the Parliament had passed the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2021, and the Elections (Second Amendment) Bill, 2021, under which the next general elections will be held via the electronic voting machines. The amendment had also granted overseas Pakistanis the right to vote in the next elections. 

Dilshad, in an exclusive talk with The News on Thursday, said that “the recent amendments made to the clause 103 and 94 of the Election Act 2017 contradict Article 218, 219 and 222 [of the Constitution of Pakistan].”

He said that the said amendments compromise the transparency and secrecy of the ballot and electoral process.

The NDF chairman elaborated that the ECP is authorised to reject any amendments to the Election Laws 2017 that are against the provisions of the Constitution of Pakistan, under the Article 222 (Electoral laws), even if they are passed by a joint session of the Parliament and all provincial assemblies. 

Dilshad, who served as ECP’s federal secretary from July 2004 to December 2009, is currently the chairman of the NDF — a think tank creating awareness on electoral laws and is associated with the United Nations.

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