ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court ordered on Tuesday the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) to verify the record of all voters in National Assembly’s NA-125 Lahore constituency wherein current Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq was declared victorious in May 2013 general elections.
The NA-125 Lahore is one of the four constituencies which Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman demanded to be verified during his party’s historic 126-day sit-in at Islamabad’s D-Chowk in 2014.
Hearing the petition filed by the PTI candidate Hamid Khan, a three-judge bench of the apex court headed by justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali directed Nadra to verify the all available counterfoils and submit a report in the court within three months.
Rafique had defeated his rival Hamid Khan of the PTI in the National Assembly constituency NA-125 (Lahore VIII).
An election tribunal had called for re-elections in constituencies NA-125 and PP-155 after an application filed by the PTI’s candidate and subsequent findings of irregularities in the records of 2013 general elections by a judicial commission.
The top court had passed a similar order in NA-110 case last week wherein the ruling party’s candidate and current Defence Minister Khawaja Asif had been elected in last general elections.
Later, speaking to media outside the SC building in Islamabad, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq said his party wants the rigging issue to be settled once and for all. “Although our lawyer could have objected over the verification by Nadra as there is no such legal standing but we did accepted it with an open heart,” he said.
The minister said he has no objection over the verification of voter’s record; however, he voiced his concerns about the substandard electoral material provided by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) during 2013 general elections.
“It has been established that the magnetic ink was substandard and was not even available at some of the polling stations,” he claimed, questioning whether the thumb impressions will be verifiable after the lapse of more than 2.5 years.