80,000 prisoners denied right to vote in upcoming elections


KARACHI: 80,000 prisoners in jail cells across the country, who despite having the “right and facility”, have been denied their role in the democratic process of electing lawmakers for the next five years.

According to the jail manual, every inmate has the right to cast their vote, with the inmates casting their vote through postal ballots and the prison administration forwarding those to the relevant presiding officers.

However, this time around the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has made no effort to include these prisoners in the list of voters.

According to reports, 49,000 prisoners including 1,000 women are in 40 different prisons across Punjab.

Meanwhile, Sindh has 19,000 prisoners, including 200 women, incarcerated in 26 prisons across the province.

Moreover, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, there are 10,050 prisoners including 220 women in 23 prisons while Balochistan currently has 2,100 prisoners which include 20 women in 11 prisons across the province.

According to former Inspector General (IG) Prisons Sindh Nusrat Mangan, inmates were not provided 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 that though the prisoners have the right to vote for the candidate of their choice by sending the sealed envelope to the presiding officer, they have not been briefed about the right to vote.

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

Media reports informed that the last day to cast vote through postal ballots for July 25 elections was July 10.