Ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and its supporters will be pleased that they are on the path to ensuring that overseas Pakistanis are granted the right to vote in the next parliamentary elections. This has always been one of PTI’s policy promises so there will be no surprises when this is done, but there are those that will not be too taken with this decision. Back here at home, there are many that disagree with granting the right to vote to those that have limited participation or less of a stake in domestic politics.
However, the ruling party garners a lot of influence overseas, which is why it is not the least bit surprising that overseas Pakistanis might soon be voting. The idea is still in its infant stages – no concrete plan has been made yet as to how it would be executed. Apart from using the National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) for registration, how the process will work is still a little unclear. Will we employ ballots by post as in other countries, or digitise the system completely?
It would be beneficial to discuss digitalising the voting system because the process is a lot more convenient than physical voting, especially if overseas Pakistanis are concerned. There are concerns about the manipulation of electronic devices and how easy they are duped on occasion, so it would be worth employing whatever path is the securest way to guarantee that this right to vote is not only granted, but is also free from influence or illegal meddling. Whatever happens next, it is clear that granting the right to vote was only the first step; the government now faces the challenge of making this process work effectively.