Pakistan’s constitution grants voting rights to citizens: President

Zubair Qureshi

President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday said the country’s Constitution gives the voting right to overseas Pakistanis and mentioned that efforts were afoot to ensure their inclusion in polling for the next general election through a simplified online procedure.

Addressing the representatives of overseas Pakistanis at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, the president said the expatriates had an important role in supporting the national economy, and depriving them of their voting rights could be a big discrimination.

President Alvi said the Election Commission of Pakistan and National Database and Registration Authority were collaborating to prepare the voters’ lists in a transparent manner.

He said the voting options for overseas Pakistanis through postal ballot and physical polling at embassies had complexities and non-practicalities.

Internet voting, however, he said, was the most practical way for overseas Pakistanis to poll their votes.

He stressed that Pakistan must adopt the new technologies to progress in different fields, including the use of electronic voting machines.

About details of the online voting, he said the government in near future would open the registration window for overseas Pakistan for 5-6 days.

He said on inclusion in NADRA’s voter list after registration, the name of the dual nationals would grey-out in the local lists of the country. Through smartphones, a code would be received to be used with secrecy in voting.

To overcome the apprehension of non-transparency, the algorithms of the cast votes would be mixed-up, he added. Dr Alvi mentioned that he had proposed putting in place an audit system for which the passwords keys could be given to both Chief Election Commission and the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

He urged the overseas Pakistanis to share their knowledge and expertise with the locals in the homeland to help them excel in the world.

SAPM on Political Communication, Shabaz Gill said the efforts of the President and the Prime Minister for the rights of overseas Pakistanis were praiseworthy.

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