Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz announced that any person who can hack the locally manufactured electronic voting machine (EVM) will get a Rs 1 million reward. Faraz told the media that govt had produced 400,000 machines locally. The cost of manufacturing per machine was estimated between Rs70,000-75,000. The 27 out of 37 points that the ECP had highlighted in a document submitted to the Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs are a “charge sheet” against it.
Govt will Reward Rs 1 Million Who will Hack Pakistan-made EVM: Shibli Faraz
Minister further said,
“We will challenge hackers to hack the electronic voting machine and if they can hack it, we will give them an award of Rs1 million. no easier way to cast a vote than the EVM and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should not put itself in a “controversial position”.
“The election commission does not want to conduct elections through the EVM.” Faraz’s statement came after officials of the ECP had walked out of a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs.
On the other hand, ECP had said in a document submitted to the Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs.
“EVMs cannot be used to conduct free and transparent elections in line with the Constitution,”
The ECP said EVMs can be “hacked”, easily “tampered with”, and the “software can be easily changed”. The machine can “misuse state power”, and it “cannot prevent horse-trading”, the ECP had maintained.
“There is no secrecy of the voter in the electronic voting machine; there is a lack of transparency; testing time before the next general election is less; stakeholders are not on board; people have not been taken into confidence,”
the ECP said in its objections.
The ECP highlighted it did not have enough funding to roll out the machines throughout the country. It also asked the government how it can ensure the machine’s transparency.
In this war of statements, the minister said people who had won elections through “rigging” do not want the use of electronic voting machines. There has been a heated debate between the government, the opposition, and other stakeholders over the use of EVMs.
Faraz mentioned the ECP had sent a 37-point objection letter to the government. In this letter, 27 points were not related to EVMs — they were about the ECP’s capacity to use them.
“Only 10 points were in direct objection to the electronic voting machine. 27 other points relate to the election commission’s capacity to use them,” he said.
He further clarified that the ECP’s technical team held its first meeting over the EVMs, and the Ministry of Science and Technology has provided them with almost all the reports they had sought. He also said that the remaining reports will be sent to them in the coming days.