IHC rejects plea against amendment in overseas vote law

The Islamabad High Court on Monday dismissed a petition with regard to amendment in the procedure of overseas Pakistanis vote.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah dismissed the petition declaring it as non-maintainable. “We hope the election commission will fulfill its constitutional responsibility,” the bench remarked.

“Do you think the court takes back the powers of the Parliament,” Chief Justice questioned the lawyer of the petitioner.

“I have collected all relevant laws of the world for the court,” Advocate Arif Chaudhry said.

“Didn’t the overseas Pakistanis exercised their right to vote in elections,” the bench questioned. “They did so in by elections,” the lawyer replied. “Are you respect the constitution, the Parliament must also be esteemed,” the Justice remarked.

“This process began 30 years ago, we want continuation of the process, which has been halted,” the lawyer pleaded.

“You should peruse the laws of all American states, which are divergent with regard to the vote of the overseas nationals,” court observed.

The court dismissed the petition after hearing arguments from the lawyer of the petitioner.

In an earlier hearing Justice Athar Minallah had said that the overseas Pakistanis have not been disenfranchised in the amendment.

“The procedure for overseas Pakistanis vote is a complicated issue. Everyone brings petition to the court but no one knows the law,” chief justice IHC remarked.

“In the United States 13 states of America deny the right to vote to their overseas citizens,” Justice Minallah remarked. “It is the mandate of the institutions to decide the procedure of vote,” he added.

It is to be mentioned here that the National Assembly on May 26 approved a bill, reversing reforms introduced by the previous PTI government for voting right to overseas Pakistanis.

After the amendment, the overseas Pakistanis would not be able to cast their vote from abroad, however they could cast their votes while residing in Pakistan.

Moreover, it has been suggested that reserved seats should be introduced for Pakistani diaspora.

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