In what will determine the authenticity of this year’s electoral exercise, election tribunals have asked the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to verify thumb impressions on ballot papers in an attempt to establish whether any fake votes were cast on May 11.
Talking about the development, sources in Nadra told The Express Tribune that the authority had received thumb verification requests for two National Assembly and one provincial assembly constituency of Sindh from election tribunals set up by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hear rigging complaints.
Enjoying the powers of high courts and comprising retired judges of the high court, a total of 14 tribunals were set up after the May 11 elections. So far, around 300 election petitions have been filed by various candidates.
“The election tribunals have sought details, including matching of thumb impressions to ascertain if the person in the voters list genuinely voted. In case someone else voted against that voter, we would have to establish whose thumb impression is on the counter-file. The whole exercise will depend on whether the ECP used the specified ink for thumb impressions,” disclosed a Nadra official.
According to Nadra, the organisation has the capacity to verify 100,000 impressions in a day if the specified magnetic ink was used by ECP in thumb impressions.
This year’s election was held on the basis of computerised electoral lists and every voter was bound to show his original CNIC and mark a thumb impression on counter-file of the ballot paper. The ECP had vowed that it will be using special magnetic ink for thumb impression that would be verifiable through NADRA’s database.
Code of conduct
On Monday, given the sensitivity surrounding the exercise, Nadra chairman issued a code of conduct to maintain a professional procedure and secrecy of the exercise.
“Narda has prepared this code of conduct for its own employees, public representatives, petitioners and responds. These guidelines aim at ensuring and maintaining political impartiality across the board and to avoid conflict of interest while performing tasks of national importance in a totally non-political, professional and honest manner,” said Tariq Malik, Chairman Nadra.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2013.