Look at India’s EVM awareness campaign, says Pakistani daily


Islamabad : The introduction of electronic voting machines (EVMs) is a right step as “transparency has never been a high point in Pakistan’s electoral history”, said a leading daily, citing the India example to stress that effective media campaigns can help generate awareness about the procedure.

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The Dawn said in an editorial that the lack of transparency “has been an unfortunate element of our national existence and the country has suffered many a time on this count”.

“One must acknowledge and appreciate the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to introduce electronic voting machines in the next general election. Getting rid of the ballot box is indeed the right step forward.”

The editorial stressed that those who argue against its efficacy in a country with a debatable literacy rate “would do well to remember that in this particular case, raising public awareness about the procedure is the key; literacy is not”.

“If the Indian example is anything to go by, effective media campaigns can, and do, break such barriers quite easily. Besides, the cost factor may also raise a few eyebrows, especially in a struggling economy. Potential benefits, however, make any cost worth the exercise.”

A pilot project will test the system during the next election for the local bodies. “Feedback accumulated from all stakeholders will help fine-tune the mechanism…”

The route adopted by the Election Commission “towards minimising, if not eliminating altogether, the menace of rigging appears to be in line with global and regional trends”.

It went on to say that transparency in polling and simultaneous counting will only quicken the pace of results that currently take up to two days.

“Electronic voting should, therefore, take care of most of the accusations and counter-accusations linked to the traditional ballot counting process.”