NA-120: LHC orders ECP to make all unverified votes public

LAHORE: Lahore High Court Justice Ayesha has ordered the Election commission of Pakistan to make all the unverified votes of NA-120 public in a response to petition filed by PTI candidate Dr. Yasmeen Rashid.

The petitioner through her counsel contended that record of over 29,000 votes of the constituency was not available with the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra). However, she said, the unverified votes were mentioned in the list prepared by the ECP. She asked the court to direct the ECP to conduct polling on the basis of verified votes only and the list of unverified/disputed votes should also be released.

During the hearing, ECP’s counsel told the court that verification of votes was the responsibility of Nadra and not the commission. He said the ECP had asked Nadra to verify the votes in question, but the authority had not done so.

Expressing dismay over ECP’s lawyer for appearing before the court without the voters’ list, Justice Malik observed that the commission had not taken any concrete steps for the verification of votes in question. The objections, if not removed, could affect result of the by-election, the judge added.

A deputy attorney general stated that changes in the voters’ list were not possible as around 48 hours were left in polling.

Justice Malik disposed of the petition and directed the ECP to provide complete voters’ list, including the unverified, to the petitioner and all other candidates participating in the by-election.

DISMISS: Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court on Friday turned down a request of a voter from NA-120 to order a stay on the by-poll in the constituency.

Sadaruddin Ahmad, the petitioner, alleged that state machinery had been used openly in support of Kulsoom Nawaz, the PML-N candidate. He said the government started several development works in the constituency violating the code conduct laid down by the ECP.

The petitioner further alleged that the PML-N candidate had also violated the ECP’s condition of spending not more than Rs1.5 million on an election campaign. He said sitting ministers and parliamentarians had been visiting the constituency to woo voters.

He pleaded that under such circumstances the by-election could not be held in a fair and free manner. Therefore, he asked the court to order a stay on the polling.

Hearing initial arguments of the petitioner, Justice Karim dismissed the petition for being not-maintainable.