LAHORE - The sale and purchase of votes in election is dishonesty and a sin, says a Mufti of a prominent religious institution of the metropolis.

According to him, voting on biradari basis, ignoring other qualifications of a candidate is like misusing a trust, Mufti Shahid Obaid of Jamia Ashrafia, Lahore, said on Saturday.

He was approached by The Nation to elicit his opinion on what qualifications of a candidate should be a consideration for a voter at the time of casting his vote.

A Mufti is a religious scholar qualified to issue fatwa (edict).

General election is due to be held on July 25, and candidates offer all kinds of baits to voters to raise their tally. Even fake votes are cast in the process to defeat the opponents.

Mufti Obaid said vote is a trust and its misuse is one of major reasons of the society’s downfall. This, he said, should be avoided at all costs.

While voting for a party candidate, the Muft said, a voter should deeply examine the manifesto of his party to ensure that it is not against Islam or Pakistan and its ideology.

A candidate who should be supported in election should have a firm faith in Islam and determination to enforce it in case the party he belongs to gets an opportunity to rule the country. Such a person should not have the reputation of violating the Islamic injunctions, should be a right-thinking person, acquainted to the system of governance as much as possible, Mufti Obaid said.

Replying to a question, the Jamia Ashrafia Mufti said the sale and purchase of votes is a sin, dishonesty which should be curbed as effectively as possible.

It was regrettable, he said, that voters don’t give much importance to the person who can serve the country better. Their prime consideration is their financial interests. “This is sinfulness, violation of trust, and a major cause of the country’s downfall”.

“How should a voter take a decision when a person he wants to support is a great doer and the same person is a culprit for others,” he was asked.

In such a situation the voter should apply his own mind and also take advice from good and honest people. He should take a decision in favour of ‘lesser evil’ and after casting vote in support of such a person, leave the matter to Allah.

“This is the maximum a voter can do. The rest should be left to Allah,” Mufti Obaid said.

Q: At present the PML-N, the PTI and the PPP are major parties contesting elections. But many allege that Imran Khan is father of an illegitimate girl, Nawaz Sharif has been convicted by a court, and the PPP leadership is also labelled as corrupt. How should a voter decide who should be supported in such a situation?

A: There are no angels in society. Anyone who is better than all contestants should be voted for. Or, go for the lesser evil, who can be better for Pakistan compared to others.

Q: Is it fair to raise finger at the character of someone whom the ECP declares qualified to contest election?

A: This is a matter for the individual voter to decide. If someone is involved in major sins, he should not be voted at all. But if it’s lesser evil and is ultimately good for the country, the voter should cast his vote in favour of such a person in consultation with people who know the person better.