PTI seeks voting right for overseas Pakistanis

Dr Alvi said that even the Supreme Court, back in 2012, had directed the executive to take necessary measures to provide voting rights to Pakistan expatriates, but to no avail.



By Afzal Khan

Published: Sun 21 Jun 2015, 11:06 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:58 PM

Islamabad: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) has revived its demand that overseas Pakistanis be given the right to vote, including in the upcoming local bodies elections in Islamabad, Punjab and Sindh.

Addressing a Press conference at the PTI’s central office, PTI MNA Dr Arif Alvi said that despite a commitment from all major political parties to give the right of vote to Pakistanis living in foreign lands, no concrete steps had been taken to ensure this so far.

Dr Alvi said that even the Supreme Court, back in 2012, had directed the executive to take necessary measures to provide voting rights to Pakistan expatriates, but to no avail.

Dr Alvi, who also represents his party in the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms, said the committee’s hands are tied in the face of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and National Database and Registration Authority’s (Nadra) unwillingness to do the necessary homework.

When asked what the way forward should be, Dr Alvi said, “Unless the government of the day makes up its mind, ECP and Nadra will keep coming up with different pretexts to keep overseas Pakistanis disenfranchised”.

Dr Alvi said he had filed a petition on the issue before the Islamabad High Court on Friday, seeking clear-cut directions for the federal government to ensure that the millions of Pakistanis living abroad can take part in the electoral exercise.

He said that ECP told the electoral reforms committee that electronic voting was not possible and Nadra said it lacked the ability to handle the biometrics of such a large number of voters at one time, which he dismissed as being “frivolous arguments”.

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