KARACHI: On a constitutional petition filed by a lady doctor with pray to add column of “None of the Above” on ballot papers, Sindh High Court has served notices to Election Commission of Pakistan, Advocate General and Deputy Advocate General for June 21 to respond.
The petitioner, lady doctor Dr. Natasha Mustafa is daughter of a late advocate of Supreme Court Ghulam Mustafa Lakho, who started this campaign some 13 years back and on his father death, she took up this cause.
Through her counsel Advocate Manzoor Khoso under article 199 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973 prayed to Sindh High Court that an additional column having words “None of the Above” should be printed on ballot papers.
Chief Election Commission of Pakistan while printing ballot paper showing serial vise names of contesting candidates should add an extra column at the bottom of the ballot paper in coming general elections of Pakistan 2018. The option “None of the Above” should be included in the ballot papers as it would enhance the scope of political expression and public confidence in the democratic process, the petitioner urged.
It is a fundamental right of every citizen in consideration of the Article 19-A of the Constitution, which recognizes freedom of expression. It is pointed out that the countries like India, US, Bangladesh, Spain, Columbia, Russia and Chile provide this option in their electoral system, the petitioner referred.
The petitioner prayed that this honorable court may be pleased to direct the respondents to provide and option of “None of the Above” on the ballot paper in the coming general election 2018.
On this occasion, talking to media in presence of her counsel petitioner Dr. Natasha Mustafa said that the people who normally do not vote would also be engaged in political process and would also exercise their right to vote and the addition of this option would ensure credibility, enhance accountability and transparency to the electoral process.
Currently ballot paper does not give all options to all voters to express their opinions as such it is one of the forms of the freedom of expression for the voters to express their opinion free from fear and favor by electing any one candidate or none listed in the ballot paper, she added. Says in press release