Involving expats in political process

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PRIME Minister Imran Khan always rates highly the expatriate Pakistanis and in his speeches he often talks about harnessing their talent and resources for the forward march of the country. The expatriates also see the Prime Minister with great love and respect and one saw its recent demonstration in his first visit to the US where they thronged Capital One Arena to listen to their beloved leader.
Soon after returning home from Washington, the very first decision that was taken by PM Imran Khan in the cabinet meeting was also related to making the expatriate Pakistanis part of the political system by not only allowing them the right to vote but also to contest the elections. A debate on this matter has been going on for a long time but without any substantive progress. But now is the time to move forward on it expeditiously and seriously as their experience and input in different fields could prove to be very important for the country. Allowing the dual nationals contest the elections will require an amendment to the Constitution as its Article 63 (c) reads: “A person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), if he ceases to be a citizen of Pakistan, or acquires the citizenship of a foreign state.” For this amendment, the Government will definitely have to take on board the opposition parties and require their support to achieve this objective. These overseas Pakistanis have enormously been contributing to the national economy by sending their precious remittances and their palpable and impalpable contribution can substantially be enhanced by making them part of the political system. Therefore, one expects that the opposition parties not doing any politics on this important issue and rather they should join hands with the Government to complete this process at the earliest without any obstacle. Similarly, the Election Commission of Pakistan should also be fully supported in evolving a programme that ensures the complete participation of overseas Pakistanis in the ballot process. All this will definitely send a positive message to the expatriates and lure them to effectively contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.