The Islamabad High Court on Wednesday observed that in hindsight, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government’s decision to give voting rights to overseas Pakistanis earlier this year was not in line with a judgement of the Supreme Court.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah made these remarks while hearing a case against the recent amendments in the election act by the PML-N-led government that, as per the petition, “deprived the overseas Pakistanis” of the right to vote. The petition had urged the court to reverse the amendment.
During the hearing, Justice Minallah said overseas Pakistanis had not been deprived of their voting rights. He added the modalities regarding voting rights for the expatriates needed to be formulated. “Will 9 million expatriates vote in a single constituency,” he asked.
The changes made by the PTI and the current amendment both pertain to the rights of the overseas Pakistanis, he said, adding that the current amendment was more descriptive. He added, “In hindsight, it could be observed that the amendment brought during the former government’s tenure violated the SC order.”
Justice Minallah said the procedures regarding voting for the expatriates need to be formulated by parliament, not the courts. The IHC CJ then adjourned the case till June 3 as he sought more arguments for the maintainability of the petition.