Court: SC orders NADRA to issue NICs to Overseas Pakistanis

ISLAMABAD: Hearing a case pertaining to right to vote to overseas Pakistanis, the Supreme Court on Thursday directed the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to issue National Identity Cards to Overseas Pakistanis’ eligible voters.

A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed also directed the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis as well as the Law Ministry and NADRA to cooperate with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in this regard.

The court instructed the Election Commission of Pakistan to ensure that all the eligible overseas Pakistani voters were registered to use their right to vote. The court also asked the ECP to inform the Overseas Pakistanis about the procedure to cast their vote.

The court directed that a joint meeting of Law Ministry, ECP and Overseas Pakistanis Ministry should be held to devise strategy pertaining to casting of vote by Overseas Pakistanis. The court noted that Overseas Pakistani’s should be able to cast their vote via email, or by sending their ballot in a sealed envelope mentioning their constituency to the Election Commission by post. The court noted that for introduction of E-Voting, there was no requirement for making any legislation. The court suggested that polling booths should be set up in the concerned Pakistani embassies.

Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis Secretary told the court that the ministry had already recommended legislation for this matter. The chief justice noted that when they Overseas Pakistanis will cast their vote, their confidence will further build up thinking that their right to vote had been accepted.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Irfan Qadir asked the court to grant him some time to meet with all the parties including the Chief Election Commissioner over the matter. The court then adjourned further hearing till February 22.