General elections: ‘IDPs can cast votes only after amending rules’

Bench asks election commission officials to send summary to president.


Our Correspondent January 23, 2013
Summary sent to President Asif Ali Zardari for amending the said rules, so that IDPs can vote for a leader of their choice in the upcoming parliamentary polls. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

PESHAWAR:


The Peshawar High Court (PHC)  on Tuesday directed provincial election commission officials to draft a summary for amending rules in order to facilitate voters residing in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs).


Hearing a suo motu notice regarding the shortage of basic facilities at the Jalozai camp, a division bench headed by PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and comprising Justice Irshad Qaisar was informed that certain rules prevented the upcoming polls from being held at IDP camps.

Upon this, the bench directed provincial election commission officials to immediately send a summary to President Asif Ali Zardari for amending the said rules, so that IDPs can vote for a leader of their choice in the upcoming parliamentary polls.

The election commission’s counsel, Abdul Rehman, informed the bench about the need to amend some rules. He, however, added that elections were right around the corner and assemblies would soon be dissolved, which would make the task difficult.



He said IDPs at the Jalozai camp belonged to Khyber Agency and cannot be given the facility to vote unless rules are relaxed, adding that it would be difficult to supervise elections in the Agency.

The bench observed that if people from Kashmir can be allowed to vote in Lahore, Karachi and other parts of the country, residents of tribal areas cannot be denied the same privilege. “It is a fundamental right of the tribesmen to cast their votes, and rules should not create hurdles,” said Justice Khan.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd, 2013.

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