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Politics Pakistan Clerics’ Fatwa Declares Casting Vote ‘religious Obligation’

Jan 7, 2005
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Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Pakistan clerics’ fatwa declares casting vote ‘religious obligation’

By Tahir Khan

Published: April 25, 2013

ISLAMABAD:
Pakistani religious scholars Thursday issued an edict (fatwa), declaring casting vote ‘compulsory under Islamic injunctions’, a senior religious leader said.

Over 300 clerics belonging to different schools of thought issued the decree in Islamabad nearly two weeks ahead of the parliamentary elections, Chairman of the Pakistan Scholars Council Allama Tahir Ashrafi said.

The edict is in contrast with the stance of the Taliban, who view the democratic system as un-Islamic and have also asked the people to stay away from casting votes.

Allama Ashrafi told The Express Tribune that the edict views casting vote as an ‘Islamic obligation’ of the people and the action of those who avoid casting vote will be considered a ‘sin’.

He said that the decree has been prepared in light of the opinion of senior religious scholars, who also urge the people to go to poll in the next month elections.

The decree said that the system could be changed through vote.

Responding to a question about women’s rights to vote, Allama Ashrafi said that the decree favoured vote right to women. However, the decree said that female officials should be deployed at women polling stations.

Allama Ashrafi asked the people to cast votes in the elections and use their right in favour of good candidates and if there is no good candidate then the people can choose a “less bad” person.

The religious decree comes at an important time as electioneering is going on throughout Pakistan while the Taliban and few other militant groups have opposed the election system.

Earlier, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan had said that they will not forcibly stop people from going to the polling stations. But he asked the people to boycott the elections declaring the democratic system “un-Islamic”.

Allama Ashrafi said that there are thousands of religious seminaries associated with the Pakistan ‘Ulema’ Council, who have endorsed the decree.

He also said that all major political parties, including Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), PML-Quaid, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), Jamaat-e-Islami, as well as minorities have also supported the decree.

source: http://tribune.com.pk/story/540424/pakistan-clerics-fatwa-declares-casting-vote-religious-obligation/
 

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