Rigging allegations: NADRA stopped from verifying NA 118 voters’ thumb impressions

Court suspends election tribunal’s order which had ordered NADRA to verify veracity of voters’ antecedents in NA-118.


Our Correspondent December 19, 2013
The election symbols to contesting candidates will be allotted on January 13, and the polling will take place on January 18. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LAHORE:


A division bench of the Lahore High Court on Wednesday stopped National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) from verifying NA 118 voters through thumb impressions.


The court suspended the election tribunal’s order which had ordered the NADRA to verify the veracity of voters’ antecedents of the May 11 general elections in that constituency.

The bench comprising Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Shujaat Ali Khan issued the order on Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s MNA Malik Riaz’s petition challenging the election tribunal’s order.

Additional Attorney General Naseer Ahmad Bhutta told the court that the ballot papers could not be made public. He said the voters’ thumb impressions had not been taken on ballot papers but on counterfoils... this made verification [of votes] impossible.

After hearing the arguments, the bench stopped the NADRA from verifying voters through thumb impressions and adjourned hearing for an indefinite time.

Riaz said the law did not have a provision for verification of votes through voters’ thumbprints. He also said it was impossible to verify all 150,000 votes cast in NA-118. Calling the notification order illegal, Riaz requested the court to declare it void.

On November 18, on a petition by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Hamid Zaman, an election tribunal had directed NADRA to verify votes through voters’ thumb impressions.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 19th, 2013.

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