Overseas Pakistanis not deprived of voting rights: Azam Nazeer Tarar

ISLAMABAD, May 27 (APP): Federal Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar on Friday refuted the news item about depriving overseas Pakistanis from voting rights.

He claimed that overseas Pakistanis had not been deprived of voting rights under Elections (Amendment) Bill 2022.

The National Assembly on Thursday had approved the Elections Amendment Bill 2022 and the Senate has also passed the bill.

Addressing a press conference along with Pakistan People Party (PPP) leader Faisal Karim Kundi and Jamiat Ulame Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) Senator Kamran Murtaza, he said that the coalition government held the presser to clarify to the people about the legislation as some people were trying to distract the masses.

He said that the National Assembly with majority approved three amendments in Election Act and around 25 amendments were approved in the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance as the courts mentioned flaws in NAB laws and civil society also raised objections and the law was being used ruthlessly. “I should clarify that overseas Pakistanis are our asset for the country.

They have a major contribution to the country’s progress and otherwise, they have a vital role in Pakistan’s wellbeing,” Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar said.

Tarar said that the government wanted to give overseas Pakistanis representation in Senate and National Assembly.

He said that the matter regarding Electronic Voting Machine (EVMs) had been left to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which had said in front of the Supreme Court that if elections were to be held, this should be done within six to eight months and this is not enough time to figure out the logistics of electronic voting.

The ECP said it would not be possible to conduct elections through EVM or the internet given the short period of time, he added.

The minister said the ECP had given its views after reviewing the internet connection, electricity problems in several parts of Pakistan, and the training that would need to be given to polling staff. He said recent legislation was only aimed at enabling the ECP to devise a strategy to ensure the right to vote for overseas Pakistanis in a transparent manner.

“I want to tell that overseas Pakistanis are not ended with the bill,” he said and added that the bill was approved by the Senate on Friday by a majority vote amid the opposition’s protest.

He said that overseas Pakistanis ‘right to vote’ would remain intact.

He said it was unfortunate that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were introduced without having any technical expertise, public awareness to use them and logistics as it was not practicable to implement them at once across the country.

Azam Nazeer Tarar said that the former government had introduced an e-voting bill in 2021 and attached electronic voting machine with it after bulldozing the Parliament.