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President: iVoting in the works for overseas Pakistanis

Says transparency in elections is necessary for democracy

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 13, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
Posted: Sep 13, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago

President Dr Arif Alvi addressed a joint session of Parliament on Monday in which he praised the government’s performance and laid out fronts on which it wished to introduce new technology.

Prime Minister Imran Khan attended and the National Assembly Secretariat invited the governors and chief ministers of all the four provinces, Azad Kashmir’s president and prime minister, and the governor and chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan.

During President Alvi’s speech, the Opposition started commotion and shouted slogans against the government.

IT exports increased 47 percent due to the steps taken by the government, the president said. You cannot stop the government by making a noise, he added.

President Alvi said that the credit for historic progress in the construction sector goes to PM Khan.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, our performance was really good, he said.

The government started many programmes to help youth acquire skills, the president said.

Pakistan needs electoral reforms, he said, adding that transparency in elections is necessary for democracy.

Do not make electoral reforms controversial, President Alvi said. The old ballot system is included in the electronic voting machines. It also includes a counter. “We’ve been using calculators for 50 years, and it’s a shame that people are now saying they don’t calculators either,” he said. “It’s a simple counter. It’s a simple vote and a count. So I’m asking you not to turn this into political football.”

He said that the government was thinking of introducing iVoting for overseas Pakistanis as well. I hope all political parties will cooperate with us, he said, so they are not deprived of their democratic rights.

Foreign policy: Kashmir, Afghanistan

President Alvi said that India will never succeed in its objectives. What it was doing in Kashmir was tantamount to genocide. It was violating human rights and treating the Kashmiri population with extreme cruelty.

The Prime Minister has called himself an ambassador of Kashmir and exposed India’s work at international fora. “I remember the day after he became prime minister he said, if India takes one step towards peace, I will take two,” he said. “But India took even this as a sign of weakness.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan has always said that Afghanistan needed a politial solution, said Alvi, but despite spending trillions of dollars, no peace was to be had. “The world should have taken Imran Khan’s advice,” he said. And now, after spending all that money, it should admit he was right all along.

Pakistan hoped that there would be an amnesty and no neighbouring country would be at risk from Afghan soil. The Afghans should be helped so no human crisis develops there, he said. In fact, we have sent aid already.

He said he wanted to dwell on some of Pakistan’s strengths: We took in hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees out of the goodness of our hearts. And the countries who criticise us were not even willing to take in a few hundred.

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