IHC dismisses plea over amendment in overseas vote law

The Islamabad High Court on Monday dismissed a petition with regard to amendment in the procedure of overseas Pakistanis vote.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah hearing the petition said that the petition is premature as the President has sent back the bill of amendment in the law to the Parliament.

“The proposed amendment has not become a law to be notified,” Justice Minallah said.

“Nothing happened, which thing to be struck down,” chief justice IHC questioned.

“If the court takes back the parliament’s power,” the Chief Justice asked. “You take back the petition,” the judge asked the petitioner lawyer.

“I have collected all relevant laws of the world for the court,” Advocate Arif said. “Didn’t the overseas Pakistanis exercised their right to vote in elections,” the bench questioned. “They did so in by elections,” the lawyer replied. “Are you respect the constitution, the Parliament must also be esteemed,” the Justice remarked.

“This process began 30 years ago, we want continuation of the process, which has been halted,” the lawyer pleaded.

“You should peruse the laws of all American states, which are divergent with regard to the vote of the overseas nationals,” court observed.

“You file a new petition after amendment in the law,” the bench said and dismissed the plea.

In a previous hearing Justice Athar Minallah said that the overseas Pakistanis have not been disenfranchised in the amendment. “If the nine million overseas Pakistani citizens will vote in a single constituency,” he questioned.

“The procedure for overseas Pakistanis vote is a complicated issue. Everyone bring petition to the court but no one knows the law,” chief justice IHC remarked.

“In the United States 13 states of America deny the right to vote to their overseas citizens,” Justice Minallah remarked. “It is the mandate of the institutions to decide the procedure of vote,” he added.

It is to be mentioned here that the National Assembly on Thursday (May 26) approved a bill, reversing reforms introduced by the previous PTI government for voting right to overseas Pakistanis.

After the amendment, 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 approval.

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