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ELECTION COMMISSION OF PAKISTAN
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PRESS RELEASE

 Islamabad, the 14th February, 2012.-           A meeting held in the ECP, Islamabad Secretariat Chaired by the Secretary ECP Mr. Ishtiak Ahmad Khan and attended by the representatives of law, finance, overseas Pakistan foundation and IFES.

In the meeting, it was principally decided that all those Pakistanis who possess National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) would get registered in the Electoral Rolls and would be allowed to exercise the right of franchise.

The Secretary Mr. Ishtiak Ahamad Khan craved the participants to give a serious consideration as how to get the overseas Pakistanis properly involved in the political process of Pakistan. An earnest deliberation was made how to enable the overseas Pakistanis to cast their vote and what could be the most fair & transparent acceptable way to resolve the issue.

Various possibilities were considered & discussed. Postal ballot papers were brooded upon with all its pros and cons. It was thought that the time period granted to the process might fall short. Some necessary amendments and legislation may be proposed in the case of postal ballot papers to reach the concerned Retuning Officer before the consolidation of the results.

The Overseas Pakistanis Foundation suggested if all the overseas Pakistanis votes be sent to the concerned Pakistan’s embassies where embassy could be able to attest its authenticity as well.

The foreign office was of the view that the establishment of a number of polling stations abroad for the overseas Pakistanis could be helpful in this regard.

The IFES suggested that it could be difficult to translate the votes into seats, therefore, some parliamentary seats could be reserved to the overseas Pakistanis where it would be mandatory for a candidate to affiliate to a political party. Other modalities of this proportional representation were thought over and discussed.

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The Secretary Mr. Ishtiak Ahmad Khan asked that all those possibilities of hybrid be completed which may not disturb the existing system and all the Pakistanis living abroad may not be kept deprived of the right of vote.

The IT Branch proposed that detail study be made of other countries and we should learn from their experiences.

The Secretary ECP said that we have the1st hand knowledge of our country and our condition. We must be dynamic and the pioneer taking initiative towards a positive democratic system.

The minutes of this consultative meeting would be put before the Election Commission and further deliberation be made to reach at a fair and integrated solution.