ISLAMABAD - Observing the utilisation of electronic system in election process could not be stopped, the Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to do away with the technical problems in the Result Transmitted System.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar observed that there should be alternate measures in case of breakdown of system.

Chief justice made these observations when Secretary ECP Babar Yaqoob during hearing of the case regarding right of votes to overseas Pakistanis responded to an observation of Justice Ijazul Ahsan that RTS was crashed.

Secretary ECP contended before the three-judge bench, hearing the right of votes to overseas Pakistanis, that RTS had not crashed on July 25 rather it had slowed down at late night due to burden.

He further admitted that the system could not perform accurately adding the system was made by NADRA.

During the course of hearing, he also requested the top court to grant a week time for submission of recommendations for a mechanism that would allow overseas Pakistanis to exercise their right of vote.

The bench observed that right of votes to overseas Pakistanis was their fundamental right. The bench also appreciated the ECP for holding of election and observed that independent and transparent election were the constitutional obligation of ECP.  The court however expressed its displeasure on the candidates contested election on more than one seats.

Secretary ECP informed the bench that the Commission had suggested for bar on contesting election from more than two constituencies.

He said the Commission had also suggested that the expenses on by-election on the seat vacated by a winning candidate from other seat should be borne by the candidate.  He informed that Parliament had not agreed with the suggestions.  

Chief justice remarked that the Parliament was supreme but expense on by-poll should be paid by the winning candidate from another seat.

Secretary said that a total of Rs21 billion was allocated for election while millions of rupees were spent on election of single constituency.

Secretary informed the bench that election was conducted on 849 constituencies while by-polls on 50 constituencies would be conducted in October of this year whereby right of votes to overseas Pakistanis will be tested in some of the constituencies.

The bench however desired the exercise of overseas Pakistanis’ votes in all the 50 constituencies.

The bench directed the ECP to submit its recommendations for a mechanism for votes of overseas Pakistanis in by-polls and adjourned the hearing till August 15.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar urged the federal and provincial governments to formulate a comprehensive policy for protection, rehabilitation and mainstreaming the transgender community in the society without any taboo or stigma. He stated this while addressing a seminar on the Rights and Welfare of Transgender held in the Supreme Court under the aegis of the Law & Justice Commission of Pakistan (L&JCP) in collaboration with the Punjab Social Protection Authority, Government of Punjab. The concluding session was chaired by chief justice being the Chairman of L&JCP. 

He also expressed his grief over discrimination and social exclusion of the transgender community.

He observed that rights to live a dignified and self-esteemed life and to be treated equally were natural rights and the Constitution provided all such rights to a transgender.

He assured that the Supreme Court was determined to protect the rights of this marginalised community.

Earlier, the Chief Justice was also briefed on the recommendations formulated for policy framework for the welfare of transgender community, advocacy for registration with NADRA and sensitisation of the government agencies as well as public for behavioural changes towards the community.

Justice (Retd) Khilji Arif Hussain chaired the plenary session of the seminar while representative from relevant government departments and representatives of the civil society and transgender community attended the Seminar.

Justice (Retd) Hussain welcomed the participant and underscored the need for protection of rights of this suppressed class of the society that can play useful in the development of the society.

He stressed upon the government functionaries to adopt an inclusive policy for welfare of transgender.

Punjab Chief Secretary Akbar Durrani presented conceptual note and shared the initiatives of the Government of Punjab for welfare of the transgender community in the backdrop of the top court’s directions.

Chairman Akhuwat Foundation Dr Amjad Saqib highlighted issues being faced by the transgender community and briefed the participants about the initiatives taken by the Akhuwat Foundation for welfare of the transgender community.

The representative from transgender community shared their ordeal and complained about the discriminatory behaviours of the society and its psychological impact.

They raised the issues like right to inheritance, education social insecurity and derogatory attitude of the society towards the transgender community.

The Secretary Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) shared the initiatives taken to reduce the hardship of transgender community and outlines of the financial assistance packages implemented for supporting the transgender community. He informed that the BISP intends to extend educational assistance to transgender through “Waseela Taleem Programme”.

Tariq Khilji from The Vision expressed the views about Community Development of transgender persons. He expressed that social inclusion of transgender is integral for the development of society.

The representatives of the provincial governments shared initiatives being taken by the respective provincial governments.

In concluding session representative of Punjab Social Protection Authority D. Sohail Anwar shared the recommendations formulated during the discussion and explained the broader policy framework for the welfare and protection of rights of the transgender community.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar appreciated the recommendations and asked the relevant authorities to publish the recommendations for feedback and comments.