Pakistani clerics proclaim voting is ‘Islamic duty’

Published April 25, 2013
Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) Chairman Allama Tahir Ashrafi addresses during a press conference at a local hotel in Islamabad on Thursday. – Photo by Online
Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) Chairman Allama Tahir Ashrafi addresses during a press conference at a local hotel in Islamabad on Thursday. – Photo by Online

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani clerics, belonging to different schools of thought of Islam, Thursday declared that casting votes during general elections is not un-Islamic at all but is a ‘religious obligation’ for all Muslims, DawnNews reported.

Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad, Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) Chairman Allama Tahir Ashrafi said that feudal lords forbid women to cast their votes and not Islam. He said politics is not a ‘forbidden fruit’ in the religion.

“After evolving a consensus among different muftis (clerics), we issue this fatwa (edict) that casting vote is a Shariah obligation and it is prohibited not to do so,” said Ashrafi.

Ruling out the perception that Muslim women are prohibited to use their voting rights, he said the religion does not discourage females to cast votes but feudal lords do.

The decree is issued in the wake of terrorist threats of sabotaging the historic May 11 polls – the first transition between democratically elected governments in a country that has a history of military coups.

The outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) also has distributed pamphlets on Thursday in Buner, Peshawar and different areas of Karachi warning citizens not to participate in the upcoming elections.

Speaking to Dawn.com, Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said that democracy was un-Islamic and was the agenda of secular forces in the country due to which they were opposed to it.

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