Islamabad, November 18, 2021: Addressing the media with the joint opposition, Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman said, “What happened yesterday will go down as a Black Day in Pakistan’s history, where a red line was crossed by the government. The world saw the worst demonstration of Pakistan’s government pass controversial, polarising legislation with an artificial majority created by coercion and carrots. Despite contested counting, in a joint session held together by scores of sergeants at arms to protect a partisan Speaker, they went ahead to bulldoze their bills amid protests, in one of the worst subversions of parliamentary democracy Pakistan has ever seen”.
“These bills were bulldozed after the Speaker had ensured us that all bills in the joint session and ordinances promulgated will be discussed in a Parliamentary committee. Why did he go back on his words? Because the government finds his reputation dispensable,” she added.
Rehman said, “Let it also be put on record that no election law has ever passed parliament in Pakistan without consensus and agreement by all stakeholders. No election can be held on these laws. This is a recipe for sowing chaos in Pakistan. Political engineering of this kind has yielded disastrous results for Pakistan before as well, but the country has never been as weak and divided as today. Further machinations may take a terrible toll”.
“The most controversial bills also include the law which will allow the use of EVMs in the elections. This has been done despite ECP’s categoric warnings that it is impossible to forgo hacking and tempering with the EVMs in the elections. By allowing the use of these machines, the government has already made the elections controversial,” she added.
Rehman said, “We are not ‘scared of technology’ obviously but EVM technology is clearly being set up as a doorway to rigging while voters lists going to a Govt department like NADRA is a macabre joke, which won’t survive any independent scrutiny or judicial appeal to reverse.It cannot be used for the next general elections on the whims of this government. This project is not even financially feasible as there are approximately 100,000 polling stations and 400,000 polling booths., If separate machines were used for National Assembly and provincial assembly elections then 900,000 machines would be required which will approximately cost Rs150 billion and Rs 1.5-2 lakh each. Do we have this kind of money to waste? The tax payer’s money is not for dubious political engineering projects “
Rehman said, “The Electronic voting machine is being imposed on the nation and the Election Commission despite their consistent disagreements and reiterated concerns. Though it is quite obvious that without the forced attendance of allies and members, the EVM bill would not have passed, but nervous and isolated governments do bizarre things, and in doing so get further exposed. Germany, Italy and the US have all rejected the EVMs but this government is adamant to go ahead with them. Why are they so scared of the votes? The truth is that people have rejected them ”.
“What happened yesterday was an attempt by the government to steal the upcoming elections. All the institutes have been paralyzed by this government. Be it the parliament or the economy of the country, the government is unable to run both. It seems as if Pakistan is being run by the IMF. Petrol prices are going down in the international markets whereas in Pakistan there is a constant increase in the price which impacts every sector. Unemployment and inflation have broken all past records. Is there anything right this government can do?” she questioned.
Vice President PPP, Senator Sherry Rehman concluded by saying, “The joint opposition is united which is why the selected government is scared and has bulldozed this session. It takes months to pass a bill whereas they have passed 33 bills in a day, it is shocking that bills are bulldozed in a terrible travesty of parliamentary norms, democracy and basic rules of procedure. We do not accept any law passed by the selected government”.