SC wants govt to consider mandatory voting


During Wednesday’s hearing of a petition pertaining to electoral reforms, the Supreme Court declared that it would be commendable if the government made voting mandatory for all those eligible for it.
According to a private television channel, a three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heard the petition.
The bench also requested the government to give its opinion on making voting mandatory for all those eligible.
Responding to which, Attorney General Irfan Qadir said legislation was necessary for making voting mandatory.
He added that voting was compulsory in only a few countries, adding that voting was not a condition in the United States, Canada and European countries.
Qadir said while voting was the right of every citizen, he/she should also have the right note to vote.
In his remarks, the chief justice said amendments were being made to the system in order to sustain democracy.
Chief Justice Iftikhar added that the apex court had declared that only a democratic system would be allowed in the country, adding that there was no space for any other form of governance in Pakistan.
The chief justice added that for this reason, democracy and democratic institutions would have to be strengthened in the country.
He said the system would change for the better only if the gradual reforms are made to it.
The chief justice clarified that the court did not imply that not voting should be made a punishable offence.
He moreover inquired whether voting could be made mandatory before the upcoming general elections.
Responding to which, Qadir said he would consult with the government as to whether the condition could be implemented before the elections.
Also during the hearing, counsel for the Workers Party of Pakistan, Bilal Manto, said there should also be a restriction on the amount of money spent on the elections.
Responding to which, the chief justice said the atmosphere gets so charged and fervent during the elections that it may become difficult to implement a regulation of that sort.
The hearing was later adjourned to Jan 30.