Islamabad: The Supreme Court has ordered the Election Commission (EC) to prepare revised lists of voters within 30 days and ensure those left out for not having computerised ID cards are enrolled.
The court passed the order yesterday while hearing a petition filed by Pakistan People's Party chairperson and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who has contended around 30 million eligible voters were excluded from the electoral rolls.
During the hearing the EC Secretary Kanwar Dilshad requested a 140-day period be allowed for preparing revised lists.
But the court disagreed and observed such a long period could be used as an excuse for postponing the general election.
The head of the National Database Registration Authority, which issues the cards, and relevant officials from four provinces were present at the hearing.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry observed the EC had the lists used in the 2002 general election and said these should be updated.
Chaudhry added correct voter lists were essential for democracy and said no eligible voter should be denied franchise.
The petitioner's counsel, senator Latif Khosa, told the court that in 2002 a big number of eligible voters were not registered.
He pointed out those who were 14-years-old at the time had now attained the voting age. Therefore some 30 million people faced the prospect of losing their right to vote.
By not registering these people on the lists a "conspiracy" was being hatched to deny them franchise, the counsel alleged.