ECP grants overseas Pakistanis right to vote

Published: February 14, 2012
The decision will allow 3.7 million Pakistanis living abroad to vote. PHOTO: ONLINE/ FILE

The decision will allow 3.7 million Pakistanis living abroad to vote. PHOTO: ONLINE/ FILE

The Election Commission of Pakistan has decided to grant voting rights to overseas Pakistanis, Express News reported on Tuesday.

The decision will allow 3.7 million Pakistanis living abroad to vote.

The debate on whether overseas Pakistanis should be allowed to participate in Pakistan’s elections gained steam after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan moved the Supreme Court, seeking that those living abroad should be permitted to vote.

In a meeting of the commission on Tuesday, which was chaired by ECP Secretary Ishtiak Ahmed Khan, participants decided that names of overseas Pakistanis will be registered in the electoral rolls, DawnNews reported. Participants also discussed the mechanism for voting, including the option of postal balloting and setting up polling booths at Pakistani embassies. A voting mechanism has yet to be decided.

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Reader Comments (95)

  • Imran Bhatt
    Feb 14, 2012 - 3:34PM

    What a strange country Pakistan is where people vehemently oppose the idea of allowing dual nationality holders to contest the elections but they have no qualms about if dual nationality holders are given the right to vote. A nation of hypocrites.


  • Muhammad
    Feb 14, 2012 - 3:39PM

    InshaAllaah now PTI all the way


  • Karim Alam
    Feb 14, 2012 - 3:52PM

    Well Done IK…….it was all your initiative!


  • Blithe
    Feb 14, 2012 - 4:03PM

    @Imran Bhatt:
    They should be allowed to vote but NOT
    to hold office (disagree with IK on the later point).


  • Z.Khan
    Feb 14, 2012 - 4:04PM

    A big breakthrough. Well done ECP. Now take another step. Declare the election will be conducted on joint electoral system considering all Pakistanis as Pakistanis irrespective of their breed, color, religion ethnicity or cost. Iron is hot please do it. IK fo PTI can basket this also. Khan Sahib COME ON we all are with you. You just have to throw the first stone.


  • Spaniard
    Feb 14, 2012 - 4:06PM

    Thanks GOD and PTI Now things will change INSHALLAH


  • ayesha zahid
    Feb 14, 2012 - 4:07PM

    well there is a vast difference in dual nationality holders to contest in elections the as opposed to those who are living abroad and voting from there. They often are stake-holders.


  • waqas aslam
    Feb 14, 2012 - 4:08PM

    How do we oversees Pakistanis vote? Im from Canada! PTI is getting my vote if i can!


  • Feb 14, 2012 - 4:14PM

    Keeping overseas Pakistani’s out of voting system is one of the reasons of low voters turnout in Pakistan.

    See our 2008 elections voters map at


  • Salman ahmed
    Feb 14, 2012 - 4:18PM

    @ImranBhatt Dual nationals voting is a totally different thing than dual nationals contesting in the elections. There is a risk of conflict of interest as he has taken the oath of another country. In this way only the patriots would be allowed to serve the country as opposed to dual nationals who have the option of fleeing abroad in difficult times, or loot the country and flee abroad. This law doesn’t prohibit dual nationals to vote, u just can’t contest the election which is a very sensible thing. The interesting fact is that you’re the hypocrite in this particular situation.


  • Bilal
    Feb 14, 2012 - 4:23PM

    @Imran Bhatt:

    Imran Sahab, vast number of over seas Pakistanis hold Pakistani nationality only and we contribute $16 billion in national exchequer each year, being elected and being able to vote are two different things. An elected leader should not have any other natioanlity but all stake holders specially the ones who are contributing billions should not be deprived the right to vote


  • ZSid
    Feb 14, 2012 - 4:25PM

    Isn’t allowing holders of dual nationality to vote in domestic elections a compromise on our national security? Who are these people loyal to, Pakistan or the country they’ve adopted? There is a very tangible conflict of interest in voting for elections in a country when you’re also a citizen of another. Which country comes first for you?
    This is a very ill-thought of move, designed to pander to elements who ‘need’ it in order to increase their vote margins.


  • TK
    Feb 14, 2012 - 4:28PM

    excellent initiative towards making Pakistan a nation of the future


  • Rahim
    Feb 14, 2012 - 4:33PM

    This is great, good job ECP and thanks to PTI
    @Imran Bhatt, I agree with Blithe, dual nationals should be allowed to vote but Not to contest elections or to hold Govt posts.


  • Feb 14, 2012 - 4:35PM

    We proud to be a Pakistani, we Proud to be a vote bank of PTI as overseas Pakistani.:)


  • zafar
    Feb 14, 2012 - 4:39PM

    Hope that the 3.7 M now fully understand who is who by now and vote the most deserving person who’s a one man army in himself.Recommend

  • Ali
    Feb 14, 2012 - 4:41PM

    Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)

    We are so called nation of IT Heads and we can’t even straighten up out voting system? Is it hard to do all this when we have bar-coded National ID cards and our thumb impressions are in national biometrics database?

    All you need are THREE things, a barcode reader, a biometrics reader, and a reliable internet connection.

    Once the voter will enter any voting booth around the world he/she will swipe his/her ID card which will be verified against national database
    Then the voter will cast a vote and the system will ask for his or her thumb impression verification, once verified the vote will be casted while blocking that ID number for any further votes.

    No need for ECP agents to waste their time in distributing the ECP forms in streets asking you to list the voters at home and then entering wrong data in the system. The NADRA database must match the location of the person to his respective constituency and add his or her vote there whether they are in their city or traveling around. It would save a lot of money in terms of printing the voter lists registration and to pay the staff on road + the wages of the staff entering the data,

    If its all centralized,
    One voter will be able to cast one vote only
    No threat that someone will enter the voting booth and will take the boxes
    And results will be ready within few hours
    Is it hard?????


  • Rashid
    Feb 14, 2012 - 4:42PM

    PTI boyzzez, scene on hai!Recommend

  • PhD_Norway
    Feb 14, 2012 - 5:00PM

    Can anyone explain how we can register our vote in Norway?
    Surely this time my vote is for P.T.I


  • nk
    Feb 14, 2012 - 5:20PM

    Pti has 3.2 million votes confirmed


  • ali
    Feb 14, 2012 - 5:29PM

    Awesome news, thanks for Imran Bhai for making this possible now PTI’s Tsunami will become Mega Tsunami. IMRAN Khan!!!!!!!


  • am
    Feb 14, 2012 - 6:00PM

    The reason why 70% to 90% o/s Pakistani will vote for PTI is because they LIVE in proper democracies with rule of law always followed and they see these qualities in PTI under imran khan and not the parties like PPP,PMLN,ANP, PMLQ and others who have been destroying Pakistan for last 64 years Recommend

  • nationalist baloch
    Feb 14, 2012 - 6:09PM

    … there is a difference between Pakistani nationals living abroad and Pakistanis having dual nationalities …


  • Feb 14, 2012 - 6:11PM

    Still rigging factor should not be neglected as it happens same with Jail votes


  • ali sahil
    Feb 14, 2012 - 6:12PM

    my vote gose to one and only Sir Imran Khan inshaAllh


  • Aiman
    Feb 14, 2012 - 6:14PM

    Thanks ECP and Imran Khan. It would be interesting if we could find out the results of just how overseas Pakistanis voted i.e. their overall vote.


  • tariq
    Feb 14, 2012 - 6:26PM

    Jeo Imran Khan. My vote for you.


  • toor
    Feb 14, 2012 - 6:38PM

    @Imran Bhatt:
    mr imran batt saab your country is running on our money and we have no right to vote u must be joking!!! pakistan is our country also and we should have the right to vote.. thx imran khan!!!!


  • Iram
    Feb 14, 2012 - 6:48PM

    Wonderful news! I’ve always hoped for this day to come, yet another success for Imran Khan. He is definitely getting my vote, inshaAllah. He has the right mindset, intelligence, passion and everything one needs to steer a country into the right direction. May Allah help him achieve that and may Imran Khan stay honest and sincere and not follow into the footsteps of those whose minds had been corrupted by power.


  • PML N
    Feb 14, 2012 - 6:51PM

    The PCO judges are again siding with PTI, this is shameful act and I hope EC refuses


  • Feb 14, 2012 - 6:55PM

    February 14th, 2012 at 6:36 PM
    I am very much happy and glad to read and hear the overseas voting right. We are in kuwait and wish to have great change for our lovely and great Pakistan which will bring safety following to positive changes.
    My vote from today goes to Pakistan Tareek al insaf (PTI).
    Best and beautiful change.
    Dr.Abdulkarim Bakhsh


  • IqbalKhan
    Feb 14, 2012 - 6:55PM

    Great step forward!! Well done PTI and ECP.


  • Ehtsham mahmood
    Feb 14, 2012 - 7:03PM

    Im totally agreed with imran khan.
    Some people are saying that “people with dual nationality have no right to vote”
    But don’t forget the fact that these people are taking their part to stable the pakistan financially.
    Most of them tried to invest their money in pakistan but they failed
    You know why? Because of the greate leaders chosen by the great uneducated peoples of pakistan.
    So think about it again.


  • Usman Mehmood
    Feb 14, 2012 - 7:11PM

    Well done ECP. Every Pakistani have a right to vote does’nt matter where ever they live … the one who think this is’nt a good idea they better pack their stuff because they are no more needed.

    Regards All


  • Raj - USA
    Feb 14, 2012 - 7:24PM


    Excellant !!!!! If this happens, it would be so good.


  • Falcon
    Feb 14, 2012 - 7:32PM

    @Imran Bhatt:
    Rather than dramatizing the issue, let’s look back at the heat Obama got for having a Muslim middle name; secondly, far from being elected, please just try to get security clearance based on dual nationality for any key federal job in U.S. and you will realize that NO country in the world places full trust in dual nationals; I am not saying this is right but it is the unfortunate global reality.


  • Bnaeem
    Feb 14, 2012 - 7:33PM

    Voting by mail, something doesn’t sound right to me. In a country where the electoral process isn’t always a clean ordeal, wouldn’t voting by mail make it easier to manufacture favored results by these politicians.


  • Asif Ahmad
    Feb 14, 2012 - 7:47PM

    Hurray to PTI supporter. PTI is all set to win this time.


  • Umair Anwar
    Feb 14, 2012 - 7:53PM

    Overseas Pakistanis do not necessarily have dual nationalities. There are quite a few who are working or studying abroad without a dual nationality.


  • Rehman
    Feb 14, 2012 - 8:15PM

    I will vote for PPP despite their miserable performance because they at least fight terrorists and exteremists unlike IK who calls them ”brothers”.Recommend

  • Waseem
    Feb 14, 2012 - 8:25PM

    postal balloting procedure should be easy, we don’t have embassies in all cities abroad.


  • qw
    Feb 14, 2012 - 8:25PM

    so why dont u give ur vote to musharraf. he also fought against “extremists and terrorists”
    atleast his performance was better than the current government.

    Pti all the way !!!


  • Rehman
    Feb 14, 2012 - 8:34PM


    Musharaf had a selective policy. He courted some exteremists and fought others. Anyways I despise dictators and what ever we say about PPP or zardari, this is still a democratically elected government.


  • haris
    Feb 14, 2012 - 8:38PM

    @Imran Bhatt: “A nation of hypocrites.”

    If you find it strange then let me tell you my friend that many developed countries in Europe and other part of the World including Germany has this policy. You should change your statement a little because you are not living with A nation of hypocrites but in fact in A World of hypocrites.


  • qw
    Feb 14, 2012 - 8:47PM

    Point noted.
    You have the right to vote who ever u like……..
    i will never vote for ppp


  • Pakistani First
    Feb 14, 2012 - 8:48PM

    My brother friend you do not know what democracy is. I live in Canada, the PM here was getting a lot of flak from the media and the general public over his policies. You know what he did, he called for elections and elected a new parliament. That is what democracy is unlike in Pakistan where a government thinks that just because it is elected it can do anything it wants. Corruption humara haq hai!


  • hamza khan
    Feb 14, 2012 - 8:51PM


    president musharraf was only a dictator for people like you, who were so caught up in his uniform that you couldnt see the forest from the trees. who gave people the local government system, who gave the media freedom of expression, who gave the people the ability to criticize him day and night, who gave women seats in parliament, minorities a voice? and on and on.Recommend

  • Awais Ch.
    Feb 14, 2012 - 9:18PM

    Congratulations IK!!!


  • Feb 14, 2012 - 9:19PM

    Me along with my other 10 friends would be voting from Ottawa. Canada. I have talked with the community and almost every one is up for Imran Khan… inshAllah !


  • K B Kale
    Feb 14, 2012 - 9:29PM

    it may be only for expatriate Pakistanis & not for those who have taken citizenship!
    But you stole a march over us Indians. We don’t yet have this luxury. Great.Recommend

  • mohammad naeem
    Feb 14, 2012 - 9:31PM

    well IK and democracy be appreciated!


  • Pakistani
    Feb 14, 2012 - 10:01PM

    Imran Khan Jeetay GA!!!!!!!!!!!!! – From Canada


  • Rehman
    Feb 14, 2012 - 10:03PM

    @ hamza khan,Pakistani First and others

    bhaiyon, I know that this government is highly ineffective in tackling many challanges but it is still a democractically elected government. As far as corruption is concerned, it is a common occurance in ALL developing countries (I am not justifying it) and the biggest source of corruption in this Land of Pure are our armed forces. As as some one said that Musharraf brought prosperity, I would like to counter that statement by saying that some of his economic policies are responsible for this mess our country is in.


  • Adnan Siddiqui
    Feb 14, 2012 - 10:07PM

    Per my knowledge the initiative was already done a few years ago by Dr. Farooq Sattar. IK please stop taking credit for the work done by other people by just redoing/saying it again. Please concentrate on making a policy and charter for your party. Remember you formed your party 17 years ago and you still don’t have a policy yet. And people have high hopes of you.


  • PTI troll 76
    Feb 14, 2012 - 10:15PM

    @PML N:

    If i were in your shoes I would be crying too, game over for the Zardaris and Sharifs


  • Mahesh
    Feb 14, 2012 - 10:58PM

    Pakistan ki Jaan .. Imran Khan Imran Khan


  • workforce
    Feb 14, 2012 - 11:00PM

    What the Hell???!!!


  • Pakistani
    Feb 14, 2012 - 11:04PM

    3.7 million votes confirmed for Imran Khan


  • filza
    Feb 14, 2012 - 11:11PM

    I’m so glad. We’re all voting for Imran Khan. Bring on the revolution!


  • Kh
    Feb 14, 2012 - 11:15PM

    There is huge difference between dual nationality holders and the one who r living abroad


  • ALI
    Feb 14, 2012 - 11:45PM

    3.7 million votes right in the basket of PTI.. Very good job ECP

    Pakistan Zindabad


  • Feb 15, 2012 - 12:23AM

    hats off to web desk of tribune…
    that its has given credit to DawnNews… well done!!!


  • Sajid Ali
    Feb 15, 2012 - 1:06AM

    I strongly criticize this move by the ECP.. overseas pakistanis who hold dual nationalities should IN NO WAY be allowed to vote. As deserters of Pakistan, they don’t deserve to have this privilege. Please mind your own business, overseas pakistanis!


  • Shane Hashmi
    Feb 15, 2012 - 2:01AM

    @waqas aslam:
    Contact your local Insaf officials. Complete list of contacts is available on the Insaf website:


  • Illusionist
    Feb 15, 2012 - 2:11AM

    Thank you ECP, Atleast we in Scandinavia are happy to vote with clear mindset without PPP influence, MQM and other lotta parties…Gr8 ECP.Recommend

  • Saad
    Feb 15, 2012 - 2:36AM

    @Karim Alam:

    How does everything become Imran Khan’s initiative?

    This was under consideration for a long time and even was discussed in the 18th amendment committee where by it only dismissed on the grounds due to the legal opinion that an amendment was not required for it.

    So the credit goes to PPP, PMLN Q, MQM, ANP and even JI but not Imran Khan.


  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Feb 15, 2012 - 2:42AM

    @Sajid Ali:
    Overseas Pakistanis form the backbone of our fragile economy. Last time i checked, our foreign remittances amounted upto 12 Billion $s which is a lot.


  • Feb 15, 2012 - 3:14AM

    Why are people here assuming that all Overseas Pakistanis have dual nationalities? There are countless who decided to stick with their Pakistani nationality (even though it closes many doors for us). May things improve in Pakistan inshaALLAH!


  • Arif Ahmad
    Feb 15, 2012 - 3:17AM

    I am very pleased that now overseas Pakistan will vote for IK. I don’t want to loose this opportunity change. I only see him a credible leader with good work behind him. He has done a fabulous job and showed his worth to the nation. Congratulations to all my Pakistani brothers/sisters living abroad.


  • Abeer
    Feb 15, 2012 - 3:18AM

    Biggest corruption about to happen


  • Talha
    Feb 15, 2012 - 3:19AM

    Ahmadis can now vote too because they are considered Muslim overseas.

    Can you dig that, Suckaaaaa!


  • Dr. Khan, USA
    Feb 15, 2012 - 3:22AM

    Great decision! but I have some concerns about the mechanism for voting, specially postal balloting mechanism, Knowing the nature of Zaradri and Nawaz Sharif (Two most corrupt and incompetent leaders on the earth), how we will make sure that our votes will go to right place and right party, e.g. if I vote for PTI using postal ballot and when it reaches to Pakistan, it could be replaced with a fake ballot for PPP or PMLn. I would prefer setting up polling booths at Pakistani embassies/consulates with all parties’ agents there, and at the end of voting, counting should be done right there in front of all parties’ agents. It is a little tough, but worth it.


  • K B Kale
    Feb 15, 2012 - 3:46AM

    I agree. I have come across references in ‘Nuclear Deception’ and elsewhere that, under the blanket of national security, the Armed Forces and ISI don’t give any details of how they spent its greenbacks neither to the Pakistani govt nor to USA!


  • Sultan Sultan Raziq
    Feb 15, 2012 - 3:53AM

    strong text I appreciate the initiative taken by PTI to give the Right of vote to overseas pakistani,AS a pakistani i wl cast my vote for PTI,& Imran Khan is one who can bring real change in pakistan, Through his leadership we can get rid of US slavery,& we wl feel overselves free, bcoz we r not free yet,being an independant state.We can get rid of Drones and Specially corruption,so I Wl not only cast my vote for PTI, but i wl try to convince PPL to vote for PTI.& Finally I Wl pray For the Success of Imran Khan and PTI in Next Elections. Thanks
    Sultan Shah (KPK, SWABI)


  • Sultan Sultan Raziq
    Feb 15, 2012 - 3:55AM

    My City IS SWABI, KPK


  • A.Salam
    Feb 15, 2012 - 4:04AM

    @Imran Bhatt: Some dual national parlimentarian spend more than half of their time out of Pakistan, so how will they help their constituency people. Local people should be elected. regarding vote, so we dont live their but our families live there, as overseas pakistani, I dont have to be in country all the time like leaders who have to be there for constituency works.


  • N Ahmad
    Feb 15, 2012 - 4:06AM

    I and my family members will be voting. Pakistan Zindabad.


  • Feb 15, 2012 - 5:46AM

    Excellent news! The Election Commission of Pakistan has decided to grant voting rights to overseas Pakistanis, We’ve always hoped for this day to come, yet another success for PTI. They have the right mindset lets hope they will choose the right candidates we need intelligent and sincere people to lead this country.


  • Feb 15, 2012 - 7:36AM

    It is a wonderful idea; should have been done long time back. Those who serve as backbone support to the economy of country cannot be left out. It is to be seen that allowing overseas vote in a transparent way serves as a more realistic election result rather than used as a tool to add bogus votes to the kitty of those who have torn our country apart.


  • Ahmad Nazar
    Feb 15, 2012 - 10:14AM

    Congratulations to all Pakistani Expats for this happy news. We will vote IK this time.


  • Sajid Ali
    Feb 15, 2012 - 10:58AM

    @Pakistani Agnostic

    The economy is fragile in the first place partly due to all the highly skilled people emigrating out of the country. And the $12 billion is sent to their own relatives, its not like that money is spent on the development of Pakistan.


  • Aurangzeb
    Feb 15, 2012 - 11:03AM

    great news… my vote for PTI


  • Mohammad
    Feb 15, 2012 - 12:52PM

    thank you ECP, I and everyone around me gonna vote for APML.. Musharraf Zindabaad.


  • Ibrahim Ahmad
    Feb 15, 2012 - 3:11PM

    Pakistani’s with dual nationality should not be allowed to vote. They already have the right to vote in their adopted countries. In fact, Pakistani’s should not even be allowed to hold dual nationality. Pakistani’s with dual nationality are not committed to the country, and are ready to bail out when the going gets tough. Rememember Tariq bin Ziyad…..he burnt his ships for a reason.


  • Abid Ahmad
    Feb 15, 2012 - 9:44PM

    My family and friends are voting for Imran from France. We are glad to hear this great news. We are also convincing our other community members to bring on the change.


  • Anonymous
    Feb 15, 2012 - 10:19PM

    You are right sir!Recommend

  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Feb 15, 2012 - 10:50PM

    @Sajid Ali:
    There are too many highly skilled people in the country. If a Pakistani immigrates to another country, more than 100 people are able to fill his position back home so he is not really needed.
    Exceptions ofcourse include Doctors and geniuses.
    And these 12 billion form a vital part of our GDP, foreign reserves, increases the spending of our relatives etc etc. Multiplier effect


  • Faisal kh
    Feb 15, 2012 - 11:58PM

    i would like to vote for Imran Khan, ( PTI ) rocks !!
    we live in Saudi Arabia since 45 years and we Proud to be Pakistanis. <3


  • Aiman Khan
    Feb 16, 2012 - 12:16AM

    @Imran Bhatt:
    Not all overseas Pakistanis are dual nationality holders. And what you’re saying is completely irrelevant. I believe the others have pointed out how so, and I don’t need to. This is great, wonderful news. I’m over the moon!


  • kashif
    Feb 16, 2012 - 2:27AM

    People living outside of Pakistan have no right to what happens inside Pakistan. If so concerned, live in Pakistan.


  • Sajid Ali
    Feb 16, 2012 - 3:00PM

    @Pakistani Agnostic:

    If the western countries, with the high rate of literacy they have, and superior education still have room to accommodate OUR professionals… Then how can you say that we have a sufficient quantity of skilled labour??? Our literacy rate and quality of education is far lower than western countries. We need every single highly qualified professional we can get.

    Just imagine, if right now Pakistani Govt stops allowing dual nationalities, do you honestly think they would give up their western nationality? think about it. Their ultimate loyalty is doubtful.


  • Iftikhar Naeem
    Feb 18, 2012 - 2:07AM

    This is an excellent idea!! I have been a residence in England for the last 30 years and always wanted to vote in Pakistan so that me and others like me living outside Pakistan can vote. This assures that voting is fair and no votes are bought by corrupt politicians.


  • Imran
    Feb 20, 2012 - 5:43PM


    No country in the World allow people to hold a public office/ or military position if they are dual citizen


  • farhan
    Feb 21, 2012 - 12:04AM

    Yup, coz holding the office is conflict of [email protected]:


  • sultan khan
    Mar 4, 2012 - 2:27PM

    Hi,im very happy to see the computris electoral system in pakistan that step shows us the real democracy in future sothat i requested to my all pakistani brother thatyour vote can prov id u the batte wfuture.


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