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Another law for the Overseas Pakistanis’ vote

21 8 1


Last week, the parliament of Pakistan once again legislated about Overseas Pakistanis (OP) ‘right to vote’ in Pakistani elections and asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to conduct pilot projects ‘to assess the technical efficacy, secrecy, security and financial feasibility’ of their voting. The law, however, does not bind the ECP to a particular time frame.

The latest legislation brings the efforts to enable Overseas Pakistanis’ to vote to where these stood in 2017 when the Elections Act was passed and ECP was asked through Section 94 to conduct pilot projects and report to the government. ECP did conduct a pilot project and submitted the report but, sadly, the parliament could never debate it.

Earlier, it was President Asif Zardari of Pakistan Peoples’ Party who, on the advice of the caretaker government, had promulgated the first legislation to enable Overseas Pakistanis to vote through an ordinance in May 2013 - just a few days before the general election. It was not a serious move but fulfilled a formality to conform to the direction of the Supreme Court. The Ordinance died a natural death after four months.

Imran Khan’s PTI was quite passionate about enabling Overseas Pakistanis to vote but it took almost three years........

© Arab News Pakistan

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