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NA passes bill abolishing use of EVMs in election

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  • Law minister says holding polls using EVMs in a single day “impossible”.
  • Dismisses impression that amendment is aimed at depriving overseas Pakistanis of their right to vote.
  • Says govt does not believe in snatching overseas Pakistanis’ right to vote.

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Thursday passed a bill to abolish the former government’s election reforms giving overseas Pakistanis the right to vote through i-Voting and electronic voting machines (EVMs).

The development came during the Parliament meeting convened by President Arif Alvi to deliberate on the current economic situation of the country.

The Election Amendment Bill 2022 —  which was introduced by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi — was introduced in the National Assembly today.

The NA had bulldozed legislation for use of EVMs through the passage of a bill on November 17, 2021, giving overseas Pakistanis the right to vote in general elections through a voting device introduced by the PTI government.

Speaking at the NA session, Federal Minister of Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar said that holding polls using EVMs in a single day is “impossible”.

Tarar said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had also expressed its inability to hold the elections through i-voting and EVMs in such a short span of time, that too without proper homework.

He said two amendments are being brought to revive the Elections Act 2017, enabling the ECP to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections.

The minister dismissed the impression that the amendment was aimed at depriving overseas Pakistanis of their right to vote, adding that Pakistanis living abroad were a “precious asset of the country” and the government does not believe in snatching their right to vote.

Regarding the use of EVMs, the law minister said they are not against the use of technology, but they had concerns about misuse of technology as the Results Transmission System (RTS) had failed in the 2018 elections to favour a particular political party. 

Meanwhile, a motion to suspend the rule of sending Election Act Amendment Bill 2022 to the Standing Committee was also passed.

Moreover, the house also approved the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Bill, 2021, formulating a post-retirement procedure for its chairman.

Following amendments were made to the ordinance:

  • NAB’s deputy chairman will be the acting head of the watchdog when its chairman retires
  • If the deputy chairman is absent then any senior officer will be given charge of the top post
  • Tax-related matters have been excluded from NAB’s jurisdiction
  • Provincial and federal cabinets’ decisions for enjoying financial benefits will not be under NAB’s ambit
  • NAB will not probe irregularities in any development scheme or project
  • NAB cannot take action over the decision of any regularity institution
  • Judges’ appointments in accountability courts will be for a maximum three-year term
  • Consultation with the concerned high court chief justice will be mandatory for the removal of an accountability court judge
  • The consultation process for the appointment of a new NAB chairman will start two months prior to the incumbent’s retirement
  • The consultation process for the appointment of a new NAB chairman will be completed in 40 days
  • If the prime minister and the opposition leader fail to agree on any name for the coveted post, the matter will be sent to the parliamentary committee
  • The parliamentary committee is bound to finalise the name for the post of NAB chairman in 30 days
  • After completing a three-year term, a person can not be re-appointed to the post of NAB chairman.

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Saudi Arabia rewards brave police officer ASP Shehrbano with a royal pension.

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Sources claim that when the two met at the Saudi embassy, where the ambassador was entertaining the courageous female officer, the diplomat gave ASP Shehrbano the information.

The Saudi ambassador praised the police officer’s bravery and assured her that her family’s travel expenses to Saudi Arabia as a royal guest will be covered by the Saudi royal family.

He gave the ASP high marks for her poise and selfless dedication to her work in managing an agitated environment.

One day before, the Gulberg ASP visited the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Syed Asim Munir, at General Headquarters.

The head of the army acknowledged the significant contribution Pakistani women made to society as a whole.

He was cited as adding, “Since independence, Pakistani women have made a name for themselves both at home and abroad thanks to their skill, perseverance, and determination.

Additionally, ASP Shehrbano’s name was suggested by IG Punjab Usman Anwar for the Quied e Azam Police award.

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36% of fresh faces make it to the National Assembly.

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Following the general elections of this year, a record 36% of new members have joined the National Assembly.

There are now 96 new legislators that have been elected to the assembly out of 265 total. In the general elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) has elected the most number of fresh faces as Independents.

Of the new faces, eleven PPP and MQM members, as well as fifteen PML-N members, have become MNAs for the first time. The IPP’s Abdul Aleem Khan and Awn Chaudhry were elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

Ataullah Tarar of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, Mir Jamal Khan Raisani, the party’s youngest member, was also elected from Balochistan for the first time and made it to the lower house.

Sher Afzal Marwat, Latif Khosa, and Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, who is supported by the PTI, are some of the fresh faces. In the last parliament, Shandana Gulzar had a reserved seat; however, this time, she was elected to a general seat.

Arshad Vohra, Syed Mustafa Kamal, and Rauf Siddiqui of the MQM were also elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

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The government declares March 2 a public holiday.

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In the province capital, Madhu Lal Hussain’s 436th annual three-day urs festivities will get underway on Saturday.

Secretary Auqaf Dr. Tahir Raza will execute the customary chador laying on the saint’s grave to kick off the urs festivities.

On this occasion, ulema Mushaikh, members of the Religious Committee, and a sizable crowd of devotees will take part.

For the Urs gift, the Auqaf Department has set up Rs 459,000. The agency and local police put together impenetrable security plans for the guests.

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