IHC issues notices to AG, secretaries on plea against e-voting ordinance.

ISLAMABAD -- The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday issued notices to the attorney general and secretaries of cabinet division and law and justice over the recent promulgation of a presidential ordinance making electronic voting mandatory for elections.

Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC also referred the civil miscellaneous application, which was filed by PakisA!tan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha, to the chief justice for the constitution of a larger bench on the matter.

The application will be clubbed with another petition, which was filed by Mr Ranjha challenging the successive presidential ordinances.

President Arif Alvi had last month promulgated the Elections (Second Amendment) Ordinance 2021 under Article 89 of the Constitution.

Barrister Umer Ijaz Gillani, the counsel for the petitioner, argued that the Ele-ction Commission of Pakistan (ECP) under Section 103 of the ElecA!tions Act, 2017 may conduct pilot projects for use of e-voting machines (EVMs) and biometric verification system in by-elections in addition to the existing manual procedures for voter verification, casting and counting of votes to assess the technical efficacy, secrecy, security and financial feasibility of the electronic voting machines.

However, he argued, the ordinance made the EVMs mandatory instead of being optional and eliminated the role of parliament in making decision.

When Justice Farooq asked if the ordinance had been published in the official gazette, the counsel replied...

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