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August 10, 2018

SC asks ECP to submit report on overseas Pakistanis voting


August 10, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to submit progress report within a week pertaining to the mechanism being adopted for enabling the overseas Pakistanis to exercise their right of franchise in the upcoming by-polls expected to be held in October.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umer Ata Bandyal and Justice Ijazul Ahsen heard the case regarding right of vote to overseas Pakistanis.

The chief justice gave the direction after the ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh informed the court that by-polls for 50 constituencies would be held between October15-20 this year.

He assured the court that the ECP is determined to enable overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in the by-polls, and sought a week’s time to submit recommendations for a mechanism that would allow them to take part in the polling process.

During the hearing, the ECP secretary while replying to a question submitted that the Result Transmission System (RTS) got slow, but did not crash; adding that the Commission received election results until late 11:00pm. He said that the system was installed by Nadra.

The chief justice asked the secretary to ensure that the RTS system remains functional during the upcoming by-polls.

The court observed that it is the right of oversees Pakistan to cast their votes in the by-polls.

The chief justice lauded the role of the ECP secretary for taking effective measures for holding general elections, adding that it is the constitutional obligation of the Commission to hold free, fair and transparent elections.

The court expressed reservations over contesting of elections by candidates more than one seats.

At this, the ECP secretary informed the court that they had proposed to the government not to allow the candidates to contest elections on more than two seats, besides recommending taking expenditures form the candidates who vacated the seats. However, he contended that the Parliament did not endorse the proposal of the Commission.

The chief justice observed the Parliament is supreme but the candidates contesting elections from more than one seat should be asked for bearing the expenditures.

Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing until August 15.

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