Lahore: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday expressed grave concern over the refusal of right to vote to the overseas Pakistanis by Election Commission of Pakistan and urged Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retd) Fakharuddin G. Ebrahim to intervene and implement the direction made by Supreme Court of Pakistan in this regard.
The PTI chief made this statement during his meeting with a 30-member delegation comprising eminent members of the overseas Pakistanis who called on him here to discuss the matter.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday had reiterated its stance that it might be impossible to include overseas Pakistanis in the polling process with 30 days left in the general elections due to legal and other factors.
“The overseas Pakistanis are an asset for the country and denying them the right to vote is a grave injustice. It was PTI that had filed a petition in the Supreme Court for giving right of vote to overseas Pakistan and after the decision of the apex court every effort should have been made to ensure that this became possible.”
The PTI chairman said unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles were being made as an excuse just to deny the overseas Pakistanis of their right and this was cause of grave concern for his party.
Khan said that he could not comprehend as to why the options of Nadra’s e-voting software and postal ballot were being opposed to facilitate voting by the overseas Pakistanis.
“It is a fact that the Pakistanis living in other countries are our ambassadors. They are sending billions of dollars every year from abroad to Pakistan which was a major source of running our expenditure. But unfortunately, the government institutions have been denying them their basic right for which the overseas Pakistanis are feeling detached,” he said and added the step-motherly treatment with the Pakistani Diaspora was counter-productive and uncalled for.
Imran Khan urged the CEC and the chief justice of Pakistan to take cognizance of the matter and take measures o remove any hurdles in way of the right to vote to the Pakistanis living abroad.
“Our Pakistani brothers and sisters abroad need to be brought in the mainstream. The refusal of right to vote to them has made them second class citizens. The CEC must act to ensure right to vote for the overseas Pakistanis,” Khan concluded.