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Overseas Pakistanis protest at Election commission headquarters for voting rights


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ISALMABAD:-Dozen of overseas Pakistanis on Tuesday protested in front of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) headquarters in Islamabad to demand voting rights.

The country’s Parliament last week passed a bill that grants Pakistanis living outside the country to vote in the elections in their home constituencies in Pakistan.

The law will come to force once the president signs the bill, but key steps to implement it would be taken by the ECP.

The protesters demanded that the law be put into practice “within 90 days.”

The protesters carried placards and banners and submitted a memorandum with the ECP.

The PTI government plans to introduce internet voting or I-Voting to allow overseas Pakistanis to vote in the elections.

The protesters said they would not object even if the ECP used postal ballots instead.

“Whatever method you find be it mail ballot or electronic ballot or EVMs, it would be acceptable for us,” a protest leader said.

He said the ECP must immediately “implement” the law so that overseas Pakistani could cast their votes in the upcoming by-polls or local government elections.

The government decision to grant voting rights to overseas Pakistanis has sparked a debate and while overseas Pakistanis believe they would be more prudent in using their votes than people living in the country many people have opposed the move saying Pakistanis who fled the problems back home should have no role in government formation.

The protesters in Islamabad also said they would use their vote with “responsibility and honesty.”

A tv report says at least 8 million Pakistanis live outside the country and will be able to influence the electoral outcome in several urban constituencies in Pakistan.

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