NA-118 ballot boxes tampered with: officials

NA-118 is among the four constituencies that PTI has pointed out in the election rigging controversy.


Arif Rana June 06, 2014
The Election Commission of Pakistan had sent the votes to Nadra after the elections for thumbprint verification, when complaints of rigging surfaced. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) had allegedly opened dozens of sealed ballot bags of NA-118 (Lahore) to tamper with the polled votes in May last year, informed officials.

PML-N candidate Malik Riaz had won from NA-118 in the May 2013 general elections but Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf candidate Hamid Zaman had challenged the result. Zaman later filed a writ petition in the election tribunal to challenge the success of Malik Riaz, citing claims of massive rigging.

NA-118 (Lahore) is among the four constituencies that PTI has pointed out in the election rigging controversy. The ballot boxes were at NADRA for thumbprint verification.

Officials told the Express Investigation Cell (EIC) that a group of top NADRA officials, comprising acting chairman, Mr Tajwar, Finger-Print Verification Unit (FPVU) director general Col Khalid Manzoor Khattak and FPVU project director Muzaffar completed the entire process of unsealing dozens of bags containing polled votes of NA-118. The NADRA men ensured that the bags had same number of votes as the notified number of voters cast. Justice Munir Mughal was representing PTI candidate Hamid Zaman to the thumbprint verification proceedings.

The Election Commission of Pakistan had sent the votes to Nadra after the elections for thumbprint verification, when complaints of rigging surfaced.

Since the NADRA officials realised the risk involved and the gravity of the illegal act, they took some precautionary measures. First, they switched off the CCTV cameras installed in that part of the NADRA office where they stored the bags on May 22 and May 26. The gang also made the part of the office selected for the ‘task’ a ‘no-go area’ even for other senior officials, officials described.

In reply to a detailed questionnaire, NADRA spokesperson Faik Ali only said that he could neither confirm not deny the incident.

The act by the accused NADRA officials raises the question mark on the credibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan, say officials. Moreover, they reveal that the thumb verification process of NA 118 Lahore had a direct link with the sacking of Tariq Malik as NADRA chairman.

Tariq Malik had confirmed at an early stage that NADRA had the technology to verify thumbprints of voters. Soon after this announcement, Malik was dismissed from his post, EIC was informed.

The court had restored Tariq Malik but he later opted to quit the job when pressured. He was also facing threats of kidnapping and he soon left the country, officials added.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2014.

Our Publications

COMMENTS (37)

Awan | 6 years ago | Reply

Political parties must learn to lose with grace. This is ridiculous.

Learned Citizen | 6 years ago | Reply

This story is baseless and concocted which has been contradicted by NADRA Spokesman in Today's paper. I really wonder how would NADRA officials would ensure the same number of ballots by refilling the bags. How would they arrange people and their thumbs for refilling the bags? The reporter has wrongly quoted the spokesperson of NADRA "he could neither confirm not deny the incident". However, the spokesperson sent him one liner reply through an email saying "Since this matter is with the election tribunal, as per law I can not comment on sub-judice matter".

Why the reporters make fuss of nothing and create anarchy and restlessness in society? They still have not learnt lesson from Geo's faux paux

I have gone through NADRA's contradiction which says the Election Material of NA-118 was handed over to them in the presence of Justice (R) Munir A Mughal after proper counting. The record was not only shared with the Justice (R) Munir A Mughal but the same was submitted in Election Tribunal. It had better media stop unnecessarily influencing NADRA on sub judice matter which damages organisation's hard-earned credibility.

However, the spokesperson has urged on media, petitioner and respondent to cross-examine the NADRA official in Election Tribunal in presence of the Judge once verification report is submitted. After submission of report, media can get copy of it from Election tribunal and can come up with criticism. Moreover, NADRA has a record of video recording and photographs of handing-over of Election material of NA-118 from multiple angles.

VIEW MORE COMMENTS
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ