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Governor Punjab suggests reserve seats for overseas Pakistanis in assemblies

LAHORE: Governor Punjab Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar on Tuesday suggested reserving separate seats in the assemblies for the representation of overseas Pakistanis.

He said this while meeting PTI leader Nadeem Afzal Chan and other party delegations on Tuesday.

The governor said that the opposition’s denial to give voting rights to overseas Pakistanis is a negation of democratic norms.

“Opposition could not force the prime minister to reverse his decision through pressure tactics,”  Governor Punjab Sarwar said adding that they should sit with the treasury on electoral reforms so that no one could raise a finger on the next electoral process.

While lamenting the opposition’s decision to convene a multi-party conference to discuss electoral reforms rather than discussing it in the Parliament, he said that such decisions could not delay the next general elections.

On May 8, President Dr. Arif Alvi had promulgated the Election (second amendment) ordinance 2021, allowing voting rights to overseas Pakistanis.

According to the ordinance issued by the president, changes were made to section 94 (1) and section 103 of the Election Act 2017. The amendments would help in ensuring that overseas Pakistanis vote during the next general election.

The bill has also been tabled in the Parliament for approval and Adviser to Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan had said that the government has made its intent clear on electronic voting machines (EVMs) and bill pertaining to it will sail through the National Assembly and Senate.

Babar Awan said that they have already given the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) authority to hold elections using the EVMs. “We have introduced a bill on EVMs in the National Assembly and Senate,” he said adding that opposition has been conveyed that the bill could not be withdrawn.

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