The commendable step to allow overseas Pakistanis to vote in the upcoming by-elections has failed to woo overseas voters as the number of voters who have registered so far runs in a few thousands.
According to reports, since September 1, 0.7 million people have visited the website where they can register to vote if they’re overseas Pakistanis, but only one per cent have got themselves registered. The registration process will conclude on September 15.
There are around 0.52 million Pakistanis residing abroad from the constituencies where by-elections are to be held. Prime Minister Imran Khan has also on multiple times asked to give Pakistanis living abroad the right to vote.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said an awareness campaign will also be launched in this regard with the help of the Foreign Ministry, NADRA and Pakistan’s embassies abroad.
On August 17, a bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, directed the ECP to take necessary measures with the help of NADRA to ensure participation of the overseas Pakistanis in the by-elections.
The electoral body is to conduct by-elections on seats of the national and provincial assemblies which were vacated by political leaders who returned on more than one seats in the July 25 elections and constituencies where the polls couldn’t be held owing to some reasons.
The ECP has issued the schedule for the by-elections according to which the voting for 37 seats – 11 of the National Assembly and 26 of the provincial assemblies – will be held on October 14.