A three-member Supreme Court bench on Friday observed that without the participation of eligible overseas Pakistani voters, elections could not be called fair and transparent. The bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, was hearing a petition filed by PTI chief Imran Khan seeking voting rights for Pakistanis living abroad. The bench noted that participation of overseas Pakistanis in the upcoming general elections was possible given right steps are taken by concerned authorities.
The chief justice noted that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should take concrete steps to enable participation of overseas Pakistanis in the polls. He said there was no need to pass a separate law for giving voting rights to the eligible overseas Pakistanis.
The apex court on Feb 14 had handed out a set of proposals for ensuring voting rights to overseas Pakistanis in the coming general election. The court had noted that the task appeared to be arduous, but it suggested an immediate meeting between the election commission and the ministries of interior and overseas Pakistanis to devise a mechanism for the purpose and wanted the outcome to be submitted by Feb 22.