LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Monday issued notices to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the ministry of law and justice on a petition seeking right to vote for overseas Pakistanis in upcoming general election of 2018.

Engineer Muhammad Ilyas, a Pakistani Malaysian citizen, pleaded his petition in person, saying that millions of the Pakistanis living abroad had been sending remittances of billions of dollars to homeland every year. However, he said, the overseas Pakistanis had not been given their constitutional right to vote in the election.

The petitioner claimed that around three million, of 220 million, were registered as voters with the ECP. He said it was very unfortunate that the leaders elected with the votes of minority population had been ruling the country.

Engineer Ilyas said he filed several applications to president, the ECP and other authorities to enable the overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in the upcoming general elections but no action had been taken so far.

He asked the court to order the ECP and others to take necessary measures without fail so that the millions of overseas Pakistanis could take part in the next general election.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah admitted the petition for hearing and directed a deputy attorney general to submit replies on behalf of the ECP and other respondents by Jan 22, 2018.

REPORT SOUGHT: Hearing a petition against appointment of Jahangir Anwar as additional information secretary, the Lahore High Court on Monday sought record from the Punjab chief secretary about the officers of BS-18 appointed on BS-19 posts.

Advocate Sheraz Zaka argued on behalf of the petitioner that Mr Anwar was a BS-18 officer whereas he had been given the charge of BS-19 post in violation of law and the many judgments of the Supreme Court.

He further contended that principles of good governance were being violated by giving preference to junior officers and bypassing seniority of the eligible officers. He said the impugned appointment made by the government should be set aside being a violation of merit and law.

Justice Shujaat Ali Khan expressed concerned over appointments of junior officers on senior posts and directed the chief secretary to submit record of all officers of BS-18 working on BS-19 posts in addition to an explanation about the appointment of the addition information secretary. The judge adjourned hearing till Jan 30.

UET: Justice Shujaat Ali Khan on Monday summoned the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) vice chancellor to explain his position in a petition questioning alleged illegal appointments made at the varsity.

UET’s former deputy registrar Abdul Rauf had filed a petition challenging appointment of Registrar Muhammad Asif and Controller Examinations Zaigham Nusrat.

The petitioner’s counsel argued that according to service rules both respondent officers lacked required experience of 13 years. He said the Punjab Higher Education Department in its reply also declared the impugned appointments illegal and recommended their removal.

Justice Khan took notice of no reply from the UET vice chancellor despite several notices and directed him to appear in person on Dec 20, the next date of hearing.

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2017

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