Pakistan

Overseas Pakistanis pick legal battle to cast vote in Punjab LG polls

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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the respondents federal government, the election commission and other authorities on a petition of an overseas Pakistani citizen to allow all those living abroad to cast their votes in the upcoming local government polls in Punjab.

The court issued notices to the respondents for submission of their replies till April 11.

The court also sought assistance from the attorney general of Pakistan on the issues raised bv the petitioner.

Petitioner Salman Shabbir, who at present lives in Australia, filed the petition through a special attorney by submitting that the lives of the families of the overseas Pakistanis were impacted by the election process of the country. He submitted that the policies made by the government had an effect on the lives of the overseas Pakistanis be it the relaxation in the remittance or the relationship of the upcoming government towards an overseas Pakistani’s resident country.

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He asserted that the overseas Pakistani enjoyed the right to participate in election process under the article 17 of the Constitution and they could not be denied their right to vote on technical grounds like logistic arrangements made outside the country. He said that the overseas Pakistanis had not been given the right to vote in the local government election in violation of the Constitution.

He requested to declare that the overseas Pakistanis had the right to cast vote not only in the federal and provincial electorate but the electorate of the LG as well. He also to order the respondents to take all necessary steps required to implement the fundamental right of vote to all overseas Pakistanis including arrangements all over the world before the upcoming LG elections scheduled on May 29.

Petitioner sought directions for the election commission, National Database & Registration Authority (Nadra), the ministry of parliamentary affairs, the ministry of law and justice, the ministry of foreign affairs, the ministry of overseas Pakistanis & human resource, the ministry of information technology & telecommunication and Punjab government.

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