Islamabad: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has dashed hopes for overseas Pakistanis to vote in the May elections in their homeland, saying that proper mechanism and legislation were essential prerequisites.

Without making necessary legislation, enabling on-resident Pakistanis to vote in the forthcoming elections would compromise the transparency of the election process, the ECP said in a report submitted to the Supreme Court.

The report pointed out that any hasty decision over the matter may compromise the transparency of the polls and may prove damaging.

The Supreme Court had recently asked secretaries of law and justice, information technology, foreign affairs, ministry of oversees Pakistanis and the ECP as well as the chairman of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to make coordinated efforts for devising a voting mechanism for nationals residing abroad. Late last month, NADRA said it has devised an electronic software for voting by overseas Pakistanis. It later informed the court and the ECP of the details regarding the software. According to official data, out of the 4.5 million overseas Pakistanis enrolled as eligible voters, 1.7 million live in Saudi Arabia, 1.3 million in UAE, 277,13 in Oman, 121,58 in Kuwait and 80,166 in Bahrain.

The are 367,988 registered Pakistani voters in the UK, 131.589 in USA, 90,148 in Canada, 56,495 in Greece, 55851 in Malaysia, 39,618 in Spain, 23,585 in France and 15,728 in Australia.