Joint session of parliament adopts EVM amendment bill amid opposition boycott
ISLAMABAD: Joint session of the parliament on Wednesday adopted the Electronic Voters Machine (EVM) amendment bill amid a boycott staged by opposition parties. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Sherry Rehman strongly condemned the passage of the amendment bill. “You deceived this house”, she told Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar during the session.
Other opposition lawmakers also criticized the government for adopting the amendment bill.
Central President of Pakistan Muslim League (N), Shehbaz Sharif has termed the proposed electronic voting machines as “evil and vicious machines”. Addressing the joint session of the parliament on Wednesday, he lashed out at the government for not what he called creating consensus over the electoral reforms in the country.
Shehbaz, who had earlier today written a letter to National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser airing his grievances about the haste in passing the bills without a consensus, said that initially the joint session was delayed after the government said it would consult with the opposition on the issue.
PTI confident of passing bills
Prime Minister Imran Khan, who arrived at Parliament House shortly before the session was expected to begin, was hounded by the media as he made his way to chair a meeting of the PTI’s parliamentary team but remained tight-lipped. The government’s coalition partners were also part of the meeting.
“You are conducting so many meetings. Are you worried about something despite having a majority?” asked a reporter.
“Who is meeting people?” PM Imran shot back as he appeared to discourage the impression that he had to convince his allies for support in today’s session.
“When a sportsman steps onto the playing field, he is prepared for every possible outcome and vows to perform better than his opponent,” he added.
Bilawal criticizes ‘one-sided reforms’
Addressing the session, Bilawal criticized the government’s “one-sided” electoral reforms which have never before been seen in the country’s history.
He said that during the government of former premier Nawaz Sharif, the PML-N had a two-third majority. “If that government had unilaterally decided and used the majority to force reforms, then the PTI and the PPP would not have been able to do anything.
“If they had decided to introduce a Constitutional amendment, then we would have to accept their decision. But they achieved a consensus,” he said.
He said that if the government had followed in the footsteps of its predecessor, then the opposition would have taken part in the legislation process. “If we carried out reforms together then the next election would not be controversial and it would have been Khan Sahab’s success.”
However, he said that the opposition would not accept the results of the next election if the government continued in the manner it was proceeding in.