Chief Justice Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Athar Minallah Wednesday observed that no amendment to the Election Act, 2017 restricted overseas Pakistanis from using their right to vote. “Expats have not been deprived of their right to vote either in the former or existing laws,” Justice Minallah observed during the hearing of a plea against the National Assembly bill revoking the Election Act, 2017 amendments that allowed the overseas Pakistanis to vote in general elections. Under the Elections (Amendment) Bill 2022 passed by the NA on May 26, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will launch a pilot project for overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in by-elections, before finally introducing the reform. During the hearing, lawyer Arif Chaudhry appeared before the court to represent the petitioner, Dawood Ghaznavi. Justice Minallah observed that, prima facie, the former government’s amendments to the Election Act, 2017 were not in line with the Supreme Court’s verdict. However, he said that the new amendments haven’t abolished the expats’ right to vote, says a news report. Meanwhile, the court was informed that around 9 million Pakistanis live in other countries. At this, Justice Minallah asked, “In which constituency will they cast their votes?” “Neither of the amendments deprived overseas Pakistanis of their right to vote. Only the method of voting has to be decided for expats,” the judge said. Later, the court adjourned the hearing till Friday. The PTI government had made multiple amendments to the Election Act, 2017, on November 17, 2021, including granting overseas Pakistanis the right to vote electronically and the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in general elections.