Overseas Pakistanis have always been there to serve their motherland in every way possible. They have played an important role in sending foreign remittances and the growth of the country. The current government had promised the overseas Pakistanis to give them the right to vote and take part in making things better. Finally, after so many discussions and dialogues, they have been granted the right to vote outside Pakistan. This is a historical decision that has also been made part of the law.
Pakistan is the country that has become a part of the global trend, where countries are granting rights to their citizens to vote. This also will diversify the roles of overseas citizens for ‘diffusion of democratic norms and culture.’ For example, in recent years, the following countries have made laws and included their overseas citizens to take part in the country’s politics:
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
According to the Overseas Pakistani Advisory Council (OPAC), ‘over nine million Pakistanis or over four percent of the country’s population are living in 115 different countries around the world.’ In 1994, then-President Farooq Leghari had promised to facilitate the overseas by giving them the right to vote. The governments have always been supportive of the idea, but with no action taken. The current government deserves appreciation for putting it into action and making it part of the law. They passed it in the last quarter of 2021, though there were many questions raised. But the encouraging part is it was accepted and lauded as well.
One thing is clear as there would be no separate seats in the parliament or increased, so they have to vote from the constituency they belong to in Pakistan.
NADRA has also launched a digital portal to facilitate overseas citizens to verify the power of attorney. Nadra Chairperson Tariq Malik said, “This innovative web-based solution by Nadra uses online biometrics verification & video interview to verify applicants remotely for PoA issuance.”
This is a good step where the overseas will contribute to the progress of the country. When they have always stood with their countrymen through thick and thin. So why not give them the right to vote?