President refuses to sign election reforms bill
ISLAMABAD – In a major setback to the government on legislation front, President Dr Arif Alvi has once again returned the Elections (Amendment) EVM/OP Bill 2022 unsigned after citing certain reasons for not signing the bill which was passed by joint session of the Parliament.
In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, the President said that it has been very painful for him as ‘President of Pakistan’ not to sign a bill passed by the Majlis-e-Shoora. Therefore, he must record his reasons for posterity. The president observed that he had not signed the bill despite the fact, that the constitution that he upheld would make it into law.
The president said that he had been pursuing the issue of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and Overseas Pakistanis Voting (OP) with all the governments, in the parliament, as well as at the Supreme Court of Pakistan since more than a decade.
In this regard, the President referred to Article 75 (2) of Constitution of Pakistan which said “When the President has returned a Bill to the Majlis-e Shoora (Parliament), it shall be reconsidered by the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) in joint sitting and, if it is again passed, with or without amendment, by the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), by the votes of the majority of the members of both Houses present and voting, it shall be deemed for the purposes of the Constitution to have been passed by both Houses and shall be presented to the President, and the President shall give his assent within ten days, failing which such assent shall be deemed to have been given.”
| In a letter to PM office, Alvi calls for use of technology to ensure transparency in elections
While enlisting the reasons, the president said that besides, the proposed laws’ regressive nature that he pointed out in detail when he referred the bill back to Parliament, he strongly believed that today’s technology especially with EVMs when used judiciously contained many solutions that reduced the impact of confusion, discord and accusations in the ‘ever-marred’ and challenged election processes.
The President said technology could also improve transparency in voting and make elections inclusive with the vote of the overseas Pakistanis, build confidence and reduce polarization to finally achieve the elusive dream of free and fair elections.
The President’s letter was received by the PM Office, however, there is no immediate reaction by the PM office on the matter.