Apex court summons NADRA chief

Rejects PTI’s request to become party in the case

Our Correspondent January 17, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The top court has summoned the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) chairman over a petition seeking the right to vote for the overseas Pakistanis.

The Supreme Court three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, on Tuesday also rejected the Pakistan Tekreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) application for becoming party in the case, brought to the apex court by a citizen Dawood Ghaznavi.

The bench, however, noted that the PTI may move a constitutional petition and later the court while hearing the case will examine the party's role regarding this matter in parliament.

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The chief justice observed that the general elections will be held on time and the court is ready to give full cooperation to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for this purpose. “The court in its verdict particularly in Imran Khan case has empowered the ECP,” he added.

The bench asked the ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob why the commission did not experiment giving the right of vote to overseas Pakistanis in by-elections. The secretary told the bench that mechanism for this purpose had yet to evolve.

However, he said, NADRA had been requested to make a software for allowing the overseas Pakistanis to exercise the right to adult franchise. “India has yet to give this right to its citizens.  However, the ECP will not disappoint the nation and the court on the holding of free and fair elections,” he added.

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The bench also expressed wonder why the PTI did not raise this issue in parliament. How the PTI could approach the SC, when it did not bring up the matter in the assembly, it asked.

The court noted that the PTI gets most of donations from the overseas Pakistanis and now the court would have to see how much they have raised this issue in parliament.

It also asked the PTI to submit complete record of the parliamentary debate on the issue. Hearing of case was later adjourned till next week.


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