Pakistani parliament approves electronic voting amid opposition

Pakistani parliament approves electronic voting amid opposition

The government won 221 votes against the opposition’s 203. (File)

Islamabad:

Pakistan’s parliament on Wednesday passed a bill that would allow vote counting, despite furious protests from the opposition, who said it had been pushed by the government to manipulate the next election.

Opposition members tore up copies of the law, chanted slogans and called Khan a voice thief before walking out.

“I believe this is the darkest day in our parliamentary history. We condemn it,” said opposition leader in parliament Shehbaz Sharif.

The government won 221 votes against 203 from the opposition.

The government has been trying for months to pass a law that would allow overseas Pakistanis to vote online.

Prime Minister Imran Khan enjoys widespread support from some nine million Pakistanis living abroad. The next national elections are scheduled for 2023.

Pakistan has a history of parties claiming electoral fraud after every election. Khan believes that electronic vote counting will bring transparency.

The opposition and many political analysts say Khan is unlikely to get a new term.

The government is grappling with a chronic economic crisis and rising inflation is at odds with the military over the appointment of a new head of the spy agency Inter Services Intelligence.

The opposition claims the military brought Khan to power in a rigged 2018 election, a charge that both the government and military deny, and said it would challenge the new law in court.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)

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