The Islamabad High Court on Monday dismissed a plea seeking to change the method for overseas Pakistanis voting. Chief Justice Athar Minallah, who heard the case, said the petition was premature because the President had sent the bill to Parliament for amendment.
Justice Minallah stated, “The proposed alteration has not become a law to be notified.”
“Nothing happened, whatever thing should be struck down?” inquired Chief Justice IHC.
“What if the court restores parliament’s power?” the Chief Justice wondered.
The judge asked the petitioner’s counsel, “Do you take back the petition?”
“For the court, I have gathered all applicable laws from around the world,” Advocate Arif remarked. The bench inquired, “Didn’t the abroad Pakistanis utilize their right to vote in elections?” The lawyer responded, “They did it through elections.” “If you respect the constitution, you must also respect the Parliament,” the Justice said.
The lawyer said, “This process began 30 years ago; we want the process to continue, which has been interrupted.”
“You should study the laws of all American states, which differ in their treatment of abroad nationals’ voting rights,” the court said.
The bench dismissed the plea by saying, “You file a fresh petition after the statute is amended.”
At a previous hearing, Justice Athar Minallah stated that the change did not deprive foreign Pakistanis of their citizenship. He wondered aloud whether the nine million Pakistanis living abroad would vote in a single seat.
“Voting procedures for Pakistanis living in other countries are complex.” “Everyone brings a petition to the court, but no one knows the law,” said Chief Justice IHC.
“In the United States, 13 states deny their abroad citizens the right to vote,” Justice Minallah noted. “It is the responsibility of the institutions to choose the voting procedure,” he continued.
It is worth noting that the National Assembly approved a bill on Thursday (May 26) undoing the previous PTI government’s changes for abroad Pakistanis’ voting rights.
Overseas Pakistanis will no longer be able to vote in Pakistani elections after the change, although they will be able to vote in Pakistani elections.
Furthermore, it was requested that reserved seats for Pakistani diaspora be implemented, and the topic was referred to a standing committee for final approval.