LAHORE - Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) political and strategic committee member SA Hameed has said that the Election Commission of Pakistan has failed to conduct free and fair elections which damaged the county’s image abroad.

Talking to The Nation on Monday, he said the ECP had lost its credibility because of its failure in conducting free and fair elections in the country. He said current general elections were the most controversial one in the history of Pakistan. He alleged Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had done rigging on only 20 seats in the general election of 1977, which resulted in a protest movement. He said Bhutto lost his life in result of that protest movement but the politicians did not learn any lesson from it.

He said in current elections, more than 100 per cent votes had been cast in many constituencies which was shameful. He said civilized nations of the world choose their leadership by transparent elections and they were being benefited and enjoying fruits of democracy.

He said Pakistan had a long history of rigging and stealing of other’s mandate. He said state institutions had been involved in this rigging. He said despite all this, the nation wanted a credible system which could pull the country out of crises.

Hameed said there was dire need to change the electoral system. He said it was surprising that our neighboring country India had changed its electoral system by adopting Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) in 1981.

He said five votes could be cast in one minute in EVM system and results could be prepared in two to three hours. He said India was running this system successfully. He said this machine was worth only Rs 15,000 and could be used for 20 to 25 years. “Other than India, electronic voting system is being run successfully in many counties including America, England, Canada, Australia, France, Bangladesh and others.  This machine can be imported and also can be prepared in Pakistan. And, due to this billions of rupees, which are spent on ballot boxes and others, can also be saved,” he said.

Hameed said, “ECP Secretary Kanwar Dilshad had told in 2010 that there are 175,000 polling booths, and election could be conducted by purchasing EVM of worth Rs 1.5 billion. But, Rs 23.96 billions were spent on the elections which caused wastage of national exchequer as well as question mark on the credibility of polls.”