EVMs must for polls’ credibility, flourishing democracy: Sarwar

TAXILA, Nov 12 (APP):Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan on Friday underlined the need for electoral reforms and subsequent introduction of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to ensure credibility of polls and strengthen the nascent democracy in the country.

Talking to media after a public-meeting and inaugurating ‘Thata Khalil Road’ and gas projects here, he said the EVMs would ensure the much-needed transparency in the elections as in the past it remained the practice of all defeat-facing candidates to level allegations of rigging on winning candidates.

“A credible system is needed where candidates must accept the results of elections whether it was someone’s defeat or victory,” he said.

Answering a question, the minister reiterated that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was ready to listen to suggestions of opposition parties on the proposed electoral reforms.

He stressed that all political parties should be on one page for electoral reforms as it would greatly help flourish democracy in the country.

Replying to another question about postponement of joint sitting of the Parliament, Ghulam Sarwar said it was done in a good faith as the government allies wanted a chance to convince and take onboard opposition parties on electoral reforms bill for its unanimous passage.

“All allied parties are with the government and we are on one page,” he said, rejecting the impression of any rift in the government coalition.

If the opposition wanted to see democracy flourishing in the country, he said, it should sit with the government for electoral reforms so that the bill could be tabled and passed unanimously.

The minister advised the opposition parties to shun the politics of confrontation, sit-ins and long-march as these things would create instability in the country and please the state enemies.

He said the PTI government would complete its five-year democratic term and present itself before the public for accountability in next general elections.

He said it was the public right to give mandate to any party, whom it considered appropriate to come into power after elections.

To another question, the minister said all political parties should have a clear stance and policy on national issues, keeping national interests supreme.

He said Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) was nothing but a group of those who looted and plundered the national wealth. “They just want to protect their ill-gotten money and assets.”

Commenting on the increased inflation, Ghulam Sarwar termed it a ‘biggest challenge’ for the government, adding the whole world was in the grip of severe price-hikes mainly caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

He said oil prices in the international market had jumped from $40 to $87 per barrel in a short span of time. Despite all these odds, he said, oil prices in Pakistan was at the lowest level among regional countries including Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India and Pakistan.

He said the government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, was taking due care of needy and downtrodden segments of the society, adding financial assistance amounting to Rs 262 billion was being extended under the Ehsass Kafalat Programme besides giving targeted subsidy of Rs 130 billion.

“By the grace of Allah Almighty, needy to get subsidy and the jinn of inflation will be bottled.