Election rigging: PTI moves top court over NA-118 ‘vote tampering’

Party claims ballot material not safe in NADRA’s custody.


Hasnaat Malik June 11, 2014
Party claims ballot material not safe in NADRA’s custody. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD:


The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) approached the Supreme Court on Tuesday against the alleged tampering of balloted votes in NA-118, Lahore.


Moving a civil miscellaneous application in the top court in the thumb verification case, PTI’s counsel Hamid Khan requested the Supreme Court to pass an order to ensure that election bags and related material remain safe while in NADRA’s custody. He also pleaded the court to prosecute and punish those responsible for changing the number of votes cast in the constituency.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (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 victory of Malik Riaz, citing claims of massive rigging.

The Express Tribune had reported that a group of top NADRA officials, comprising acting chairman, 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 and tampering with them.

Referring to the media reports, the application stated that bags and election material were handed over to NADRA for thumb-impression verification, however, they were clandestinely tampered with to fill the missing number of votes needed to bring the election count in accordance with the ‘fake result.

The party accuses the ruling PML-N government, which has already removed the previous NADRA chairman Tariq Malik to clear the way for committing fraud.

“Its new chairman, Imtiaz Tajwar, is the party’s puppet in power and is tampering with the election material to please his bosses who had him appointed in that position,” the application claims.

The Election Tribunal, Multan, has ordered for thumbprint verification of the votes in NA-154 and this order has been upheld by the apex court on June 6. In pursuance of this order, the election material purportedly with the treasury is being removed to NADRA’s custody in Islamabad.

But the PTI expressed apprehension that the election material is not safe with NADRA, where similar tampering was done in NA-154.

“The matter of averting and pre-empting vote tampering is [...] of urgent nature and an appropriate order ought to be passed to ensure the safety and proper custody of such material with NADRA,” the party urged. 

Published in The Express Tribune, June 11th, 2014.

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