UAE | General

Pakistani expatriates may be given voting rights

Schooling issues a top priority while voting rights of expat Pakistanis mulled

  • By Faisal Masudi, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 19:16 April 23, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News
  • Feroze Jamal Shah Kakakheil, Caretaker Minister for Overseas Pakistanis (right), and Tariq Iqbal Soomro, Consul General (third from left), meet community members.

Dubai: A Pakistani minister said efforts are under way to resolve outstanding issues like delays in passport renewal, voting rights for overseas Pakistanis, facilities for community events and schooling capacity.

Pakistan’s Caretaker Minister for Overseas Pakistanis, Feroze Jamal Shah Kakakheil, told a community gathering in Dubai on Tuesday that he and the ministry have pushed for voting rights of Pakistanis abroad, however, the final decision is yet to be taken.

He said there were about 1.2 million Pakistanis in the UAE.

Visiting the Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD), Kakakheil said the Pakistan’s Supreme Court and election commission are considering granting the voting right to Pakistanis living abroad.

Dr Riaz Langh, Community Welfare Consular was also present.

“God willing, you [expat Pakistanis] will be given this facility. We [the ministry)]are ready to facilitate this. We’re placing ads, raising awareness and campaigning. We’ve written to Pakistani embassies, presented the case for it to the Supreme Court,” he added.

“But everyone has their own mandate. The court has given some directions, and as they mature, you’ll be given this facility.”

It was also revealed during the meeting that the long-delayed multipurpose community hall at PAD is back on track.

Pakistan Consul General in Dubai, Tariq Soomro, said: “Good news: we’ve solved this issue. A big donor and another donor have lent support. Only a procedural formality is left. It’s just a matter of a short time now.”

When asked about the delays in renewals of Pakistani passports, Soomro said: “The new passports are still coming from Pakistan though there have been delays. The delay is in Pakistan, owing to issues of booklets and lamination.”

He said existing passports were being extended “according to applicants’ needs and I have not received any references of Pakistanis facing problems obtaining visas of other countries on these [extended] passports”.

Another issue raised at Tuesday’s informal meet-and-greet was the schooling of Pakistanis in the UAE. One woman said seats were limited, with many Pakistani children attending other schools instead. Another man said there should be more schooling options in smaller UAE settlements like Fujairah and Dibba. There was also concern about Pakistani school leavers left with few Pakistani universities to choose from in the UAE.

Both KakaKheil and Soomro said they would liaise with officials and stakeholders here and back home to address these issues.

“The private universities are coming, they showed interest in an education fair at PAD recently. There’s no permission for bachelor’s level evening courses in schools, but affiliations with Pakistani universities and other possibilities are being explored,” Soomro said.

He was responding to a question about hosting evening classes in schools to accommodate demand.

Comments (7)

  1. Added 12:42 April 24, 2013

    Our votes – an incredible instrument if used correctly, can mould the future for a progressive Pakistan. Pakistan’s destiny now rests with its individuals, individuals who need to realize that their vote is what can make or break the country. They should select candidates intelligently and convince credible Pakistanis to contest in the upcoming elections. May ALLAH grant us a chance to vote for our country from the UAE itself. As i was born & raised in here, it's still a dream for me to go to PAKISTAN & vote there.

    Amer Wisal Mohammad, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 12:04 April 24, 2013

    Any person can join Pakistan Association Dubai as member, further there is PAD group on facebook having +3300 members to get the information of the events. Thanks Gulf News for covering the event. Tahir Zaidi-Cultural sec. Pakistan Association Dubai

    Tahir Zaidi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 10:37 April 24, 2013

    Also, I forgot to mention in my previous post. If we do get voting rights here representatives of the UAE authorities should oversee so that no foul play takes place in counting or sending the ballets back to Pakistan.

    Mohammad Shoaib Ali, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 10:34 April 24, 2013

    Can anyone show up at these events? I did not know of any such event taking place or I would have turned up. I think the Pakistani representatives should be more involved in the overseas Pakistani community here.

    Mohammad Shoaib Ali, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 10:22 April 24, 2013

    I think 'we may get rights' is not correct. this is another false hopelesss statement given by this minister.

    Saeed, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 10:22 April 24, 2013

    Would be great if we can vote here. However, would request the concerned to confirm possibility of overseas vote as quickly as possible. We want to see a new Pakistan, we are eager to vote for the right candidate and most of us are even willing to travel to Pakistan just to cast their votes. So I request the autorities to pls confirm possibiity of overseas vote ASAP.

    Amer, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 10:07 April 24, 2013

    The programme was very well organised. Even on very short notice, a lot of the community members attended & discussed the issues with the Honorable Minister. Well done PAD

    Tahir Zaidi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Gulf News