National Assembly reverses voting rights for overseas Pakistanis

National Assembly on Thursday approved a bill depriving overseas Pakistanis of their right to vote, reversing reforms introduced by the previous PTI government for their voting rights.

After the passage of the bill, 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 and the matter was sent to a standing committee for a final nod.

In November 2021, the federal government headed by Imran Khan succeeded in getting two crucial amendments to the Elections Act 2017 passed in a joint sitting of Parliament. The amendments relate to electronic voting machines and the right of overseas Pakistanis to vote.

The bills related to the use of EVMs and overseas Pakistanis’ right to franchise were presented by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr. Babar Awan in the joint session.

In 2016, the Supreme Court ordered to give the right to vote to Pakistani diaspora but the electoral body has utterly failed in doing so, they added.

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