Islamabad -  Former Senator Javed Jabbar has said that Pakistan should adopt a system of compulsory voting.

Jabber, former minister for information and media development, said this while addressing the Youth Parliament Pakistan on the topic of “Pakistan’s Origins and Future: Options for Democratic Reforms.

Speaking on the issue of electoral reforms, Jabbar maintained that Pakistan’s current system was 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. 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 Shazia Batool, Hazara, Ajab Khan, Balochistan, Asmatullah Asmi, Balochistan, and Syed Tasawur Kazmi, Gilgit-Baltistan, to condemn the series of shameful attacks on Hazara people.

Sohaib Saeed, AJK, chairman of the standing committee on finance, economic affairs and planning, presented the report on tax reforms in Pakistan. He said that Pakistan had one of the lowest tax-to-GDP ratios in Asia because of which it faced serious budget deficits which imposed higher burden on the low income groups. The resulting discussion in the house revolved around increasing incentives for taxpayers and imposing strict penalties for tax evasion.