ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday filed a petition in the Supreme Court against recent amendments in election laws under which the voting rights of overseas Pakistanis through internet voting have been revoked.
The Pakistani parliament on June 9 passed the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022, under which overseas Pakistanis cannot vote through i-voting and electronic voting machines (EVMs) will not be used in the next election, scheduled for August 2023.
“Khan, filing the petition through his lawyers, has made the federal government, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), and National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) parties in the case,” Geo News reported.
Khan urged the court to declare the amendments “unconstitutional, ultra vires and void, ab initio and to strike down the same.”
“Direct the ECP and all relevant authorities to take necessary steps to give effect to the right of overseas Pakistanis to vote in all future elections, especially the upcoming general elections from their country of residence,” the petition reads.
It also asked the court to direct the Election Commission of Pakistan to grant necessary approvals and funds to the National Database and Registration Authority to develop a new i-voting system to be used in the next general election.
“Grant a continuing mandamus and supervise the process of putting in place a system for ensuring that overseas Pakistanis are able to cast their votes in all future elections, especially the upcoming general elections, from their country of residence,” the petition reads.
Last November, while Khan was still prime minister - he was ousted in April this year in a parliamentary vote of no-confidence - Pakistan's parliament passed a law allowing electronic vote counting despite furious protests from the opposition which said it had been pushed through by the government to rig the next election.
Khan’s government had for months been trying to pass the law that allowed overseas Pakistanis to cast their ballot online.
Ex-PM Khan enjoys widespread support among some nine million Pakistanis living abroad.
Pakistan has a history of parties alleging vote rigging after every election. Khan has said he believes electronic vote counting will ensure transparency.