MULTAN - The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is all set to use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for the first time in the electoral history of the country on trial basis during by-polls in PP-194 on Thursday (today).

Sources disclosed that the ECP got five machines from as many companies that are being installed in polling stations set up at Government College for Women Kachehri Chowk and Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Multan.

All the voters casting their votes at these polling stations will also use the machines on trial basis but these votes will have no effect on the result of the election. “It’s an exercise just to review the performance and accuracy of these machines. The votes cast on these machines do not have any effect on the result of the election,” declared Returning Officer Ashfaq Sarwar while talking to this scribe. He hoped that the use of machines would boost accuracy, transparency and credibility of voting process in next elections.

Sources revealed that the machines are acquired from two local companies Telephone Industries Haripur and COMSAT Islamabad and three foreign companies including Smart Matic, INDRA and Securetec. Giving details of operating method, ECP sources disclosed that the voter would have to enter his National Identity Card Number in the machine on which the names and electoral signs of all candidates would appear on the screen. “The name and electoral sign of each candidate will be lined against one button and the voter will just press the button located before the name of his wanted candidate and his vote will be cast,” sources added. Talking to this scribe, the representatives of foreign companies Robert Dobler and Henry Sim claimed that the machines would prove a source of ultimate electoral transparency in coming days.

Giving salient features of the machines, they told that the equipment possessed qualities like instant counting and result compilation, system security and storage as well as battery operated 12-hour operation back up. The ECP authorities declared it a key step towards revolutionizing the electoral system.

“This machine will help conduct transparent and impartial elections electronically. This cost effective and embedded solution will also ensure integrity and transparency of election process.”