The Supreme court of Pakistan SC was informed on Monday about the software system for expatriates, would be ready to launch in the next 10 weeks. The overseas Pakistanis would be able to cast their vote in the upcoming general elections in 2018 using this software.
According to Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Yaqoob Fateh Mohammad and Chairman National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) Usman Yousaf Mobeen, after serious deliberations we are heading towards positive outcomes, after developing the software mock exercises will also be conducted to make sure that we produce error-free voting system for overseas Pakistanis to cast their vote.
The Chief Justice SC said, “The time has come that the gift of exercising the right of a franchise should be given now to the overseas Pakistanis.”
A bench consists of 3 honorable judges of Supreme Court including Chief Justice took the petitions forwarded by PTI Chairman Imran Khan and a group of citizens pleading the denial of the right to participate in the democratic process by overseas Pakistanis would mean a refusal by the government to complete its constitutional obligation.
However, Chief Justice wondered that ex-envoy Hussain Haqqani who fled without facing memogate trial would also get the voting right.
During the hearing, Justice Umar Ata and a member of bench urged the need for developing a questionnaire and incorporate it with the software in such a way that commitment to the country by Pakistani expatriates was also solicited. This suggestion was taken seriously to do “odd man out” exercise because most Pakistanis have their hearts with Pakistan but there are some out there who do not have any stakes in Pakistan and they can become tools in the hand of others.
Chairman Nadra told the court that a meeting is scheduled for April this year inviting all the stakeholders including academics in order to seek assistance for the development of the software.
The CJ also said that Pakistanis living abroad have more love for their country then people living in it, they also know more about Pakistan, he also suggested the name of IT expert Salman Akhtar for third-party evaluation of the software.
There was also a software developed by Nadra in 2012 which was designed for expatriates to cast their vote but it was not feasible because the overseas Pakistanis had to come to Pakistan embassies and high commissions to cast their votes around the world.
The chief justice observed that no chance should be taken and there shouldn’t be any room for the mistakes while exercising the right for the vote for overseas Pakistanis. Their vote could change the destiny of the country along with imparting knowledge, education, quality of leadership and rule of law. The hearing was postponed until further development of the software.