Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan Monday moved the Supreme Court requesting that the Election (Amendment) Bill 2022 be declared ‘unconstitutional’ as it restricted the overseas Pakistanis from voting in the general elections. Advocate Uzair Karamat Bhandari filed the petition on behalf of Imran Khan. The bill was recently passed by the National Assembly by a majority vote, with only the GDA MNAs opposing it. The petition prayed that the apex court should declare the amendment unconstitutional, ultra vires and void ab initio, and to strike it down. The petition emphasized that Section 94(1) of the Elections Act 2021 remained the “existing law” and that all institutions, “especially the ECP [Election Commission of Pakistan] and NADRA [National Database and Registration Authority], were bound to act in accordance with it.” The petition prayed to the court to direct the electoral watchdog and all relevant authorities to take necessary steps to provide overseas Pakistanis the right to vote, especially in the upcoming general elections, says a news report. “In particular direct the ECP to grant the necessary approvals and funds to NADRA for developing the new I-Voting System as detailed in the NADRA proposal within a strict timeframe,” read the petition. The petition also requested the SC to grant a continuing mandamus and supervise the process of putting in place a system for ensuring that overseas Pakistanis are permitted to vote. It further reiterated that the apex court must act timely so that overseas Pakistanis are able to vote in the upcoming elections. The National Assembly passed the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022 on May 26 removing the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and effectively disallowing overseas Pakistanis from voting in the next general polls. The legislation aims to conduct pilot projects in local by-elections before using i-voting and EVMs in the next general elections. Subject to controversy, President Dr Arif Alvi did not approve the bill that sought to reverse the changes made in the election laws by the previous PTI regime, terming the proposed legislation “regressive”. In a statement issued by the President’s Secretariat, Alvi noted that he had been pursuing the issues of EVMs and voting for overseas Pakistanis with all governments, in parliament and with the Supreme Court for over a decade. He added that even though the bill could become an act of parliament, he would not sign it, though with a “heavy heart”, for the sake of future generations and the country. “I want to write down my arguments and ideas for future generations,” he said while expressing his disapproval.