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Pakistan’s 80,000 prisoners denied right to vote

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KARACHI, Pakistan: With one of Pakistan’s most important general election only a few days away, around 80,000 prisoner serving their respective terms in different prisoners around the country have not been allowed to vote.

According to Pakistani media outlet Geo News, every inmate has the right, according to the jail manual, to cast vote in the electoral process. They can participate by casting their vote through postal ballots, which the prison administration forwards to the relevant presiding officers.

However, no steps have been taken by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) this time around.

According to sources, there are 49,000 prisoners in Punjab, 19,000 prisoners in Sindh, 10,050 prisoners in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, aand 2,100 prisoners in Balochistan.

According to former Inspector General (IG) Prisons Sindh Nusrat Mangan, inmates were not given the facility to vote during the 2013 elections either, while a mere 10 prisoners cast their vote in the 2008 elections.

The former IG added the prisoners have the right to vote for the candidate of their choice by sending the sealed envelope to the presiding officers, however, they have not been briefed about the right to vote.

Mangan further stated that the process of inmates casting their vote takes place a week before the general election, however, the process has not yet taken place.

The last day to cast vote through postal ballots for July 25 elections was July 10, according to media reports.

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