IHC CJ observers amends to law do not seek to deprive expats of voting right

Court seeks more arguments on maintainability of plea

By: News Desk
Published: 02:00 PM, 1 Jun, 2022
IHC CJ observers amends to law do not seek to deprive expats of voting right
Caption: File photo.
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Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah has remarked that apparently it seemed that the previous government’s amendment to the law regarding voting rights to overseas Pakistanis was not in conjunction with the Supreme Court decision, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

He was hearing a petition on Wednesday challenging the government’s amendments to the overseas Pakistanis voting rights law which seek to deprive the latter of their right to vote. 

CJ Minallah while observing that the amendments were not aimed at depriving overseas Pakistanis of their voting rights asked the lawyers to present more arguments regarding the maintainability of the petition.

The judge adjourned the case till June 3.

At the outset of the hearing, Chief Justice Minallah remarked that the new amendments and the earlier amendments to the law were same. The only difference is, more explanation has been given in the new amendments, the judge said adding that both the amendments were not seeking to eliminate the voting right of Pakistani diaspora living abroad. 

Lawyer Arif Chaudhry told the court that this thing had been going on for the last 30 years and no one could deny right to vote to overseas Pakistanis.

The CJ asked the lawyer to at least inform the court in which constituencies, the overseas Pakistani would cast their votes. 

The lawyer said that all institutions came to the Supreme Court and assured it of their willingness to work on it. After their (institutions) assurance, the apex court ordered them to act upon it. 

The lawyer said that the amendments which were incorporated during previous government, they were completely fulfilling the SC order. 

The court inquired how many Pakistanis were residing abroad. The lawyer replied that 0.9 million Pakistanis were living abroad. 

The court further asked about the method of vote casting in America. The petitioner who lives in America and is resident of Mansehra said that he did not know yet. 

The chief justice, however, observed that apparently it looked like that the amendments made to the law by the previous government was not in conjunction with the SC decision. But the new amendments do not seem to be abolishing the voting right of the overseas Pakistanis, the judge remarked.

Reporter Ehtisham Kiyani