ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought an explanation from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for failing to implement its order about voting rights to overseas Pakistanis.

A three-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the petition of overseas Pakistanis.

Chairman Welfare Society for Overseas Pakistanis’ Rights (WSOPR) Barrister Dawood Ghazanavi along with other 35 overseas Pakistanis had filed the petition seeking the implementation of the Supreme Court judgment.

The Supreme Court judgment of 2013 says overseas Pakistanis right to vote in elections in Pakistan was their fundamental right under Article 17 of the constitution and had asked the federal government to extend the facility to overseas Pakistanis during elections to the National Assembly as well as local bodies.

According to the petitioner, in 2014 a parliamentary committee was constituted for electoral reforms in the country. The committee constituted a sub-committee under the chair of PTI MNA Dr Arif Alvi for devising a mechanism for voting rights to overseas Pakistanis. The committee met for 65 times but failed to devise any voting mechanism for overseas. The Draft Election Bill 2017 tabled on December 20, 2016, also mentioned no voting mechanism for overseas Pakistanis, he said.

He said that the PTI was blaming the government that it has not approached other political parties on the proposed voting mechanisms, and instead using delaying tactics in devising the voting mechanism for overseas Pakistani ahead of 2018 general elections.

He said that the Supreme Court ahead of the 2013 general elections had passed a judgment on the matter. However, the then president did promulgate the Elections Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2013. Due to time restraint, the voting couldn’t happen and the ordinance died its natural death after four months, as it was not placed before the Parliament to make it an Act.