Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Voting Rights for Overseas Pakistanis

The PTI, in particular, has been making a lot of noise about voter registration and the integrity of voter rolls in Pakistan. And, of course, a lot of their enthusiastic support is amongst youth--not a few of them overseas. (See their web page in this regard here.)

So, to get the discussion going and help set the expectation of enthusiastic overseas supporters, here's what I know so far about their own voting rights and process:

There is no process for overseas pakistanis. What the party is recommending is the best they can do: to behave like other Pakistanis and make sure we're registered in our "home" constituencies and then try to vote there. There is not absentee ballot or overseas voting like we've seen for Iraqis, or Americans, or others.

The then Minister for Overseas Pakistanis (Farooq Sattar) and the Prime Minister have committed to/approved the latter in principle (with Dr. Sattar's own party having its own strong base amongst expatriate Karachiites), but it seems it hasn't been implemented in time for the upcoming elections. It is something that parties and activists need to push for. Here's my previous post from when they announced that they would enfranchise Overseas Pakistanis.

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