'Pakistan not ready for EVMs in elections'.

LAHORE -- Technology has lessened human interference and labour in almost all spheres of life but it has become heavily politicised when it comes to politics.

A panel at Afkar-e-Taza ThinkFest included Ahmed Bilal Mehboob of Pildat, Dr Taha Ali of NUST (Islamabad), and Rasheed Chaudhry of the Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability to discuss whether technology could be used in Pakistani elections. Their answer was in the negative.

Mr Chaudhry put up several reasons for his anti-technology stance.

'Electronic voting machines (EVMs) are a popular but unrealistic demand,' he said.

'So far, no government has ever conducted a serious piloting of the EVMs as election technology is related to polls and the polls are political issues. So EVMs are a political issue.'

Certain parties believe that the EVMs are all problem-solving formulas, which is not true. Pakistani elections' technological requirements were not specific, he said and added that though India and Brazil were regarded as examples of successful technological interventions in election, their needs were different. For example, India started using the EVMs only for counting ballots, Mr Chaudhry said.

'Pakistan's problem is that here we want to first buy machines and later on, define rules to use them. This is an unwise approach. The fact is, so far, no serious discussion has ever been held at any forums, either within government quarters or among political parties.'

He stated that polls were about...

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