Karachi (Observer): One is really astonished about the priorities of our Election Commission and even the Supreme Court while the politicians are desperate to return to power again by hook or crook. For days and weeks now we hear them worrying about voting devises for overseas Pakistanis who had left Pakistan after completing their education and training in Pakistan for greener pastures abroad creating a brain drain at home.
Those Pakistanis, who left the country and are not experiencing the ground realities any more, should not be that important for having a say in our domestic affairs. Since the world scenario has changed now and they are feeling insecure due to so-called Islamophobia, so they want to be recognized in the motherland from which they had turned their backs and many had even taken oath of allegiance on Bible to remain loyal to their new homeland. Whosoever, they might be voting for – the outcome of the elections has to be borne by those living here and not by them but their votes may bring wrong set of candidates on top. We hear that expensive electronic voting devises are needed for that when even not all countries allow voting of foreign citizens in their embassies. So what is the need for all this?
On the other hand, millions of people living in the country are suffering from the outfall of the last government’s wrong-doings, its bad governance, negligence and corruption; but they will be deprived of their voting rights as much as they are deprived of other rights such as education, health care and so on because the are IDP’s and for the last many months if not years are living in make-shift refugee camps or as guests cramped in the houses of relatives. Those are the hundreds of thousands who fled their homes because of ongoing military operations in their areas, because of missing security like in Swat and Quetta or in the aftermath of floods during which they lost their houses and belongings and have never been rehabilitated or registered for voting in their new temporary or new places of residence. Nothing to talk about the millions of Gilgit-Baltistan province inhabitants who have neither the right of vote in coming general elections nor have any constituencies or representation in National Assembly or Senate of Pakistan. Why a province is being discriminated? Is the CEC not aware of this fact and its constitutional responsibility?
ECP and Supreme Court never even mentioned them and instead of demanding voting facilities for outsiders they should have taken care of the rights of the Pakistanis living in Pakistan, do they know how many people are deprived of fundamental rights. There is only one conclusion that can be drawn from this: the understanding of equal rights for all citizens is quite underdeveloped even in the ‘highly educated’ rank and file of our judiciary and among serving and retired judges in various capacities after retirement – among those who by profession should be the ones to guard equality and citizenship rights.