SC directs ECP, Nadra to evolve common strategy

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and NADRA to evolve a common strategy for granting the overseas Pakistanis right of franchise in the upcoming elections.

NADRA Chairman Tariq Malik informed the three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, which heard overseas Pakistan voting right case, that in 48 hours they had developed a software so that millions of Pakistanis living abroad could cast vote in the general elections.

The Nadra official gave demo in the courtroom and the judges and attorney general appreciated it. The chief justice said at least positive step has been taken in this regard. Attorney General Irfan Qadir said: "Excellent efforts by Nadra and why can't it be put into practice.” He said that the Foreign Office was ready to extend cooperation in this regard, while the Finance Ministry was ready to bear the expenses.

The Nadra chief said now the software just need to be deployed in the foreign missions of Pakistan. They have used biometric system for the identification purpose.

Sher Afgan DG (Elections) ECP submitting the revised proposals regarding right of voting to overseas Pakistanis said that the final decision has be take by Election Commission. He said according to suggestions the polling abroad would start three days prior to the polling in Pakistan. Justice Hani Muslim remarked that electronic voting is transparent. The hearing adjourned till April 10.

Meanwhile, hearing of dual nationality matter a three-judge bench issued notices to 12 former parliamentarians for April 9 who were not present in the court proceedings.

The apex court, on March 28, had issued notices to 20 parliamentarians who had resigned from the National/Provincial Assemblies and Senate for holding dual nationality to explain why they should not be declared ineligible from taking part in the forthcoming elections.

During the course of hearing, eight out of twenty former parliamentarians appeared before the court and submitted their contentions. Donya Aziz and Arif Aziz pleaded that they were born in USA and Australia respectively and have not acquired it. Arif said: "No deliberate malice was involved.” He said that even the ECP could not decide his and Donya Aziz cases. Hearing of the case was adjourned till April 09.