Imran Khan requested the Supreme Court to declare the Election (Amendment) Bill 2022 as unconstitutional and ultra vires to the Constitution
ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan Monday requested the Supreme Court to declare the Election (Amendment) Bill 2022 as unconstitutional and ultra vires to the Constitution.
Imran Khan filed a petition in the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution through PTI Secretary-General Asad Umer, challenging the Election (Amendment) Bill 2022 recently passed by joint session of the parliament stopping the overseas Pakistanis from exercising their right of voting in general elections.
He made the Federation of Pakistan. Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Rights Resources, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Election Commission of Pakistan and National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) as respondents.
The PTI chairman prayed the apex court to declare the impugned amendment to be unconstitutional and strike down the same He submitted that the highest constitutional functionary of the state, the President of Pakistan, who had twice felt constrained to refuse to assent to the impugned amendment and recorded detailed reasons for doing so, had to be accorded some weight.
“The president is a part of the parliament as per Article 50 of the Constitution, and his view to the vires of a proposed law must be a very relevant factor,” he submitted. He recalled that the Supreme Court in his judgment passed in 2018 had noted that after the 2014 judgment was passed, no concrete steps were taken to actualise the right to vote for Overseas Pakistanis and enable them to participate in the electoral process.
Imran Khan prayed the apex court to declare that Section 94(1) of the Elections Act 2021 remains the “existing law” and that all institutions, especially the ECP [Election Commission of Pakistan] and NADRA [National Database and Registration Authority], are bound to act in accordance with it.
He also prayed the apex court to direct the Election Commission of Pakistan and all relevant authorities to take necessary steps to provide overseas Pakistanis the right to vote in all future elections from their country of residence.
In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, direct the ECP to grant the necessary approvals and funds to NADRA for developing the new I-Voting System as detailed in the NADRA proposal within a strict timeframe so as to be in place in time for use in the upcoming general elections, the PTI cheif pleaded
He further prayed the apex court to grant a continuing mandamus and supervise the process of putting in place a system for ensuring that overseas Pakistanis able to cast their votes in all future elections and especially the upcoming general elections from their country of residence
Imran Khan submitted that the impugned amendment is discriminatory in nature, thus violating Article 25 of the Constitution as it provides for equality before law and protection against discrimination.
As a result of the impugned judgment, the state will, in elections for the foreseeable future, continue to grant the right of vote to those citizens who reside in Pakistan, while deliberately denying overseas Pakistanis the same right, thus discriminating against them and violating the right granted by Article 25.