SC seeks ECP’s advice over allowing voting right to overseas Pakistanis

Qamber Zaidi

The Supreme Court of Pakistan sought on Thursday advice of the Election Commission of Pakistan over allowing voting right to overseas Pakistani for the by-polls expected to be held in October.

The electoral body has been directed to submit its advice within a week.

By-elections will be held in 50 constituencies in the country between October 15 to October 20. The electoral body will spend Rs200 million for holding elections in one constituency. There are a total of 885 constituencies of provincial and national assemblies, on which Rs21 billion were spent during the General Election 2018.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar remarked that people who are contesting from more than one constituency should know that Rs200 million is being spent on one constituency.

“This money could be saved and used for constructions of dams in the country,” he observed.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial questioned whether the amount can be charged from the candidates who chose to contest from more than one constituency.

ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob told the court that the electoral body had advised that the electoral candidates to not contest elections on more than two seats. However, the request was rejected by the parliament.

Chief Justice Nisar remarked that parliament is supreme. “We can’t say anything to it.”

The SC bench asked the ECP secretary why the results of the elections were delayed.

“Did the result transmission system stop working or was there any other reason,” Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked.

Yaqoob explained that the result transmission system did not stop working completely rather it became slow. “We had to upload the results of 85,000 polling stations. The system was functioning perfectly till 11pm,” he said.

The case has been adjourned till August 15.