Imran Khan
In this March 16, 2020 file photo, Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during an interview in Islamabad, Pakistan. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan asked his cabinet members on Tuesday to work on a mechanism to introduce electronic voting machines to ensure transparency in the next elections in Pakistan.

The government is determined to introduce electronic voting system similar to the US elections to hold honest polls in which the results are acceptable to both parties, Khan said citing the example of former US president Donald Trump who could not find any evidence of rigging due to electronic voting system.

Khan earlier announced the government’s plans to introduce electoral reforms, including the e-voting system and voting rights for overseas Pakistanis, during his speech after winning the confidence vote in parliament last week.

Ensure transparency

Imran Khan said it was essential to ensure transparency and put an end to corrupt practices in the next election following allegations of horse-trading and buying and selling votes in the recent Senate polls. He said the Senate elections exposed how politicians used money to buy votes. “We want the next general election to be fair and transparent and hence want to initiate the e-voting process,” he said.

During the cabinet address, Khan also cited the UN’s Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI) panel report explaining how “billions of dollars from poor countries, stolen through corruption, are hidden in tax havens or offshore accounts.” He said that the ruling elite and office holders of poor countries send the ill-gotten wealth abroad by weakening the institutions responsible for monitoring money laundering and illicit financial flows.

The UN commission report called for a global crackdown to recover the billions of dollars lost through tax abuse, corruption and money-laundering that “already deprive developing countries of hundreds of billions of dollars every year.” The report said that 10 per cent of the world’s wealth could be hidden in offshore financial assets at a time when millions were pushed into poverty and governments were facing fiscal pressures due to COVID-19 pandemic.