Pakistan should consider compulsory voting: Senator Javed Jabbar


Islamabad, October 26; Former Senator Javed Jabbar said that Pakistan should adopt a system of compulsory voting.


Mr. Javed Jabber, Former Minister for Information and Media Development, addressed the Youth Parliament Pakistan on the topic of "Pakistan's Origins and Future: Options for Democratic Reforms".


Speaking on the issue of electoral reforms, Mr. Jabbar maintained that our current system is not truly representative. Quoting the low voter turnout in Pakistan, he suggested that voting should be made compulsory for every citizen. He quoted examples of several countries that have systems of disincentives in place for failing to vote. Confiscation of national identity cards; suspension of pay for three months, as is the case in Bolivia, and fines are all methods which can be considered.

He also shared that fundamental reforms be brought to the existing system of "first past the post" because it enables candidates who do not have the support of the majority in the constituency to win seats. Instead, he suggested that candidates should only be elected on the basis of simple majority for them to be true representatives. To counter the asymmetry in the Pakistani federation the only solution is a directly elected senate.


Sharing experiences from his political career, he stressed on the importance of fact-based dialogue for youth. He encouraged the Members of Youth Parliament to pursue careers in politics saying that hard work and dedication are sufficient for making a difference in society.

During the course of the day, a calling attention notice was presented by Ms. Shazia Batool Hazara (YP06BALOCHISTAN04), Mr. Ajab Khan (YP03BALOCHISTAN01), Mr. Asmatullah Asmi (YP04-BALOCHISTAN02) and Syed Tasawur Kazmi (YP10-GB02) who condemned the series of shameful attacks on Hazaras. Ms. Shazia Batool Hazara (YP06BALOCHISTAN04) called to attention that immediate measures should be taken to stop the genocide of Shia Hazaras in Balochistan.
Mr. Sohaib Saeed, (YP02-AJK02) Chairman of the Standing Committee on Finance, Economic Affairs and Planning presented the report on "Tax Reforms in Pakistan". He said that Pakistan has one of the lowest tax-to-GDP ratios in Asia because of which it faces serious budget deficits which impose higher burden on the low income groups. The resulting discussion in the House centred around increasing incentives for taxpayers and imposing strict penalties for tax evasion. The recommendation of introducing fixed-tax and CNIC as tax number was also appreciated by the House.
Mr. Moazzam Habib (YP38-PUNJAB19), Chairman of the Standing Committee on National Security, presented the report on 'National Internal Security Policy'. He said that while National Internal Security Policy of Pakistan defines Pakistanís strategic interests, it lacks in the subject in a number of ways such as the ineffective police structure, training and accountability, lack of coordination among intelligence agencies, the porous Afghan border, the lack of an effective media policy from an internal security perspective and the spread of sectarianism. The House recommended that that there should be coordination between civil and military intelligences under the roof of NACTA which should be functional. The report was met with appreciation from the House.

The session was adjourned till 0900 Hrs, October 27.

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