ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said his government had decided to introduce electronic voting in the general election and also would move a bill in the parliament to amend the current mode of secret ballot in the Senate polls to show of hands, in a bid to ensure fair and transparent polls.

The prime minister while talking to the media after meeting with the Electoral Reforms Committee said that the bill was aimed at discouraging ‘vote selling’ in the upcoming Senate elections.

Imran Khan said the constitutional amendment required a two-third majority. It would expose which political party would support or oppose the corrupt practices, he added.

The prime minister said the move was unprecedented on the part of a sitting government and recalled that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in 2018 had expelled its 20 lawmakers for selling their votes. On the electronic voting, he said consultations with the Election Commission were underway to devise a system based on the data provided by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA). Besides ensuring transparency, he said, the computerised system would also benefit the nine million Pakistanis living abroad to conveniently poll their votes online.

The prime minister thanked the people of Gilgit Baltistan for reposing confidence in the PTI during the recent election and lauded the big turnout even from far-flung areas despite tough weather conditions.

He said his government stood by its pledge to grant provisional provincial status to the GB to end the sense of deprivation among its people. Every possible step would be taken to bring development in the area, he added.

The GB people, he said, would be kept updated about the steps taken in phases for the establishment of their province. Imran Khan dismissed the allegations of opposition parties of rigging in the GB polls and stressed the need for a spirit among the political parties to accept defeat.

He recalled that the purpose behind PTI’s demand to open four constituencies after the 2013 general election was to set in place a system of transparent and free polls in future. Even as the skipper of cricket team, Imran Khan said, he had always campaigned for neutral umpires in the matches.

The prime minister expressed confidence that with the implementation of electoral reforms, the country would witness a norm among the political parties to have faith in the polling process and accept the results.