x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Pakistan asks UAE to allow its expats to vote in May elections

Pakistan has asked the UAE government to allow the 1.2 million expatriates living here to vote in next month's parliamentary elections.

DUBAI // Pakistan has asked the Government to allow the 1.2 million expatriates living here to vote in next month's parliamentary elections.

Pakistanis will elect members of the national assembly, the lower house of parliament and the four provincial assemblies on May 11.

Eight countries - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Australia, Canada, the United States and Britain - have given their permission for expatriates to vote.

Pakistan's ambassador to the UAE said this month that 45 polling stations would be set up across the country to allow expatriates to vote.

But two hurdles remain - Government permission and a legal framework in Pakistan to allow the votes to be counted.

"The government of Pakistan has officially requested the government of the UAE to allow Pakistanis in UAE to cast their vote," said an official at the consulate in Dubai. "We are very hopeful to get the approval ... in due time."

Talks between Pakistan's supreme court and election commission are still under way to set out the legal framework.

"The matter is under consideration in the supreme court," said the Pakistan foreign ministry.

"As soon as a decision is taken by the government, ministry of foreign affairs and our concerned missions abroad we will extend all possible facilitation for conduct of polling for overseas Pakistanis."

nhanif@thenational.ae