Islamabad: The British Chairman of the International Professionals Council, Amjad Ali Syed, has called on the Federal Government to grant voting rights to overseas Pakistanis to better contribute to the development of the country.

Amjad Ali Syed told a reporter from the National Press Club on Thursday that Pakistani expats were apolitical people and were only tied to Pakistan and its interests. He said overseas Pakistanis played a vital role in the economic development of the country by sending large sums of money home, so they should be allowed to participate in the national electoral exercise without delay.

The chairman of the council warned that if the leaders tried to mislead the expatriates on the latter’s claim to the right to vote, they would stop sending foreign currencies into the country. “Pakistanis living abroad should have the right to elect their representatives,” he said. Amjad Ali Syed said expats had strong reservations about reports of denial of voting rights to expats.

He said the importance of Pakistanis abroad, especially their contributions to the country’s development, should not be ignored. “We Overseas Pakistanis work hard and send money to Pakistan so our right to vote must be recognized and granted unconditionally and without delay,” he said.

He said the properties of many expatriates in Pakistan were illegally occupied but no one could take away their right to vote. “If Pakistani expats, numbering around 10 million, are denied the right to vote, they will stop sending remittances home,” he said.

The chairman of the board said that the International Council of Professionals had tried to bring Pakistani businessmen to a platform in the UK from here and when they went there they were warmly welcomed. “We have nothing to do with a political party,” he said.

Amjad Ali Syed said that overseas Pakistanis had left Pakistan to work but no one in charge of business in Pakistan had supported them to claim their rights and fight against excesses and injustices. “We [expats] had many meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan and his representatives, who promised us the right to digital voting. We reiterate our demand that the Federal Government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif respect and protect our right to vote in Pakistan,” he said.

The council chairman said Pakistani expats did not support any particular politician and instead sided with anyone who worked or wanted to work for Pakistan.

Khayyam Akbar, a member of IPC UK, who was also present, said the lands of many Overseas Pakistanis in Pakistan had been illegally occupied and the relevant authorities failed to come to their aid. He said Pakistanis abroad numbered 10 million, wanting to keep in touch with Pakistan and needing the right to vote in the country. Khayyam Akbar said expats wanted to see honest and excellent leadership governing the country and would continue to support such leadership. He said Pakistanis overseas condemned those who tried to dishonor the country for their political ends.