The Lahore High Court on Monday sought replies from Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Ministry of Law and Justice in a petition seeking right to vote for overseas Pakistanis in upcoming general election of 2018.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah was hearing a petition moved by a Pakistani Malaysian citizen Engineer Muhammad Ilyas. The CJ directed the deputy attorney general to submit replies on behalf of the ECP and other respondents. The court adjourned further hearing until Jan 22, 2018.

The petitioner said that millions of Pakistanis living abroad had been serving Pakistan by sending to it remittances of billions of dollars every year. But, he said, the overseas Pakistanis had not been given constitutional right to vote in the election.

The petitioner said that out of total population of 220 million, only around three million had been registered as voters with the ECP. He questioned that the incumbent vote bank is the base of current ruling party as it is the minority vote.

He stated that he moved several applications before the President, ECP and other authorities seeking registration of overseas Pakistanis for their votes in the upcoming general elections but no action had been taken so far.

He prayed the court to order the ECP and others to take necessary measures without fail so that overseas Pakistanis could also take part in the next general election.