Sunday May 29, 2022

Expats demand right to vote

By Our Correspondent
May 13, 2022

Islamabad : International Professionals Council UK Chairman Amjad Ali Syed has demanded of the federal government to grant voting rights to overseas Pakistanis for better contributions to the country's development.

Amjad Ali Syed told a presser at the National Press Club here Thursday that Pakistani expatriates were non-political people and were related to Pakistan and its interests only. He said overseas Pakistanis played a vital role in the country's economic development by sending large sums of remittances home, so they should be allowed to participate in the national electoral exercise without delay.

The council chairman warned that if those at the helm tried to fool expats over the latter's claim to the voting rights, they would stop sending foreign exchange to the country. "Pakistanis living abroad should get the right to elect their representatives," he said. Amjad Ali Syed said the expats had strong reservations over reports about the denial of voting rights to expats.

He said the importance of overseas Pakistanis, especially their contributions to the country's development, shouldn't be ignored. "We, overseas Pakistanis, work hard and send money to Pakistan, so our right to vote should be acknowledged and granted unconditionally and without delay," he said.

He said the properties of many expats in Pakistan were illegally occupied but no one could take away their right to vote. "If Pakistani expats totalling around 10 million are denied the right to vote, they will stop sending remittances home," he said.

The council chairman said the International Professionals Council worked to bring Pakistan's businessmen together on a platform in the United Kingdom from here and when they went there, they're warmly welcomed. “We have nothing to do with any political party,” he said.

Amjad Ali Syed said overseas Pakistanis had left Pakistan for employment but no one at the helm of affairs in Pakistan supported them to claim rights and fight excesses and injustices. "We [expats] had many meetings with PM Imran Khan and his representatives, who promised us the right to digital voting. We reiterate our demand that the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif-led federal government respect and protect our right to vote in Pakistan," he said.

The council chairman said Pakistani expats didn't support any specific politician and instead, they stood with anyone, who worked or wanted to work for Pakistan.

IPC UK member Khayyam Akbar, who was also in attendance, said the lands of many overseas Pakistani in Pakistan had been illegally occupied and the relevant authorities didn't come to their help. He said overseas Pakistanis totalled 10 million, who wanted to stay connected with Pakistan and needed the right to vote in the country. Khayyam Akbar said expats wanted to see honest and excellent leadership rule the country and would continue supporting such leadership. He said overseas Pakistanis condemned those trying to disgrace the country to serve their political ends.