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Overseas Pakistanis: SC directs expedited efforts for voting mechanism

28 February, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has directed the authorities concerned to speed up development of a mechanism to allow overseas Pakistanis' to vote.

A three-judge bench, led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, has observed that developing a mechanism to ensure right of vote to overseas Pakistanis is a task of hours, but nothing had been done in this regard since the past 65 years. The court also observed that if the government wanted to legislate on this matter then it would be considered that they were willing to deprive the overseas Pakistanis of their right of vote.

During the course of the hearing on Wednesday, Deputy Attorney General Shafi Chandio told the bench that second meeting on the issue would be held at the office of attorney general of Pakistan on Monday with AGP Irfan Qadir in chair. More then 20 representatives of different departments would be present in the meeting. Submitting details of overseas Pakistanis in 11 locations of the globe, Chandio told the bench that 7.5 million Pakistanis were abroad out of which 4.4 million have the National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP).

Chandio told the court that currently there are over 1.6 million Pakistanis in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 1.3 million in the United Arab Emirates, 0.364 million in the United Kingdom, 0.266 million in Oman, 0.130 million in United States of America, 94,000 in Kuwait, 79,000 in Bahrain , 71,000 in Qatar, whereas a large number of Pakistanis are resident in Malaysia and other countries. The hearing was adjourned till March 4.


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