Monday, May 16, 2022

Govt to deprive foreign Pakistanis of the right to vote

The federal government has begun the process of depriving Pakistanis living abroad of their right to vote in the next general elections in the country.

In the National Assembly, a bill has been introduced to overturn the PTI government’s bill, which grants abroad Pakistanis the right to vote in Pakistan elections. The bill, which was introduced on May 10 by alienated PTI MNA Noor Alam Khan, was not opposed by Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar.

As previously stated by the Law Minister, the bill should be brought to and discussed in the Electoral Reforms Committee. The bill was handed over to the electoral reforms committee by the speaker, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, on Tuesday.

Remember, the previous government had enacted a bill in the National Assembly granting expatriate Pakistanis the right to vote in the general elections.

Babar Awan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs, introduced the Electoral Reforms Bill in November 2021, which includes the use of Electronic Voting Machines in the next general elections.   The same bill granted the right to vote to Pakistanis overseas nationals.

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The governing parties have been outspoken in their opposition to the availability of abroad voting, stating that the practice would raise worries about rigging in the elections. Bilawal Bhutto, the head of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), had also advocated special seats for Pakistanis living abroad.

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