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Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Farooq Sattar.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Dr. Farooq Sattar on Wednesday said that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) would table a private member bill in the parliament for giving right of vote to overseas Pakistanis.

“The overseas Pakistanis are 4 to 5 per cent of the total population. They contribute $12 to $13 billion precious foreign exchange to the national kitty every year. They should have the right to vote,” he told a news conference here.

He said that National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) had issued around 370,000 National Identity Cards for Overseas Pakistani (NICOP) and they were registered with the authority.

The names of these overseas Pakistanis, he said, should be registered in the voter lists of their respective constituencies.

He said that it was the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to register their names besides devising a mechanism to give them the right to vote in general elections.

The MQM leader also appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to give direction for registration of votes of overseas Pakistanis in the general electoral lists.

He said that MQM had sent the bill to the law ministry and the cabinet for vetting. There was no obstacle in smooth passage of the bills as all political parties have already given their mandate to the ECP in this regard, he added.

Replying to a question, he said that overseas Kashmiris were using their right of vote in AJK elections and the same procedure should also be adopted in Pakistan.