LAHORE: Unhappy with its defeat in the October 11 by-election for the National Assembly constituency NA-122 (Lahore-V), the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has called for a ballot recount and verification of the voters list.
The seat had fallen vacant after an election tribunal unseated Sardar Ayaz Sadiq of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on a petition filed by PTI Chairman Imran Khan, also resulting in the former’s ouster as the NA speaker. On Sunday, however, Sadiq managed to defeat the PTI’s Abdul Aleem Khan to reclaim his constituency.
The PTI has launched an investigation into alleged changes in the NA-122 voters list. The party’s provincial organiser, Chaudhry Sarwar, has also written to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), seeking voters’ records, while the defeated PTI candidate has requested a recount of the votes.
The Imran Khan-led party claims the voters list was changed at the last minute, transferring several of their voters from the constituency.
On the first day of its operations on Tuesday, the PTI cell investigating the alleged changes in the voters list received 100 complaints, which they claimed were from NA-122 voters. “We have received information that thousands of voters were excluded from the voters list in the constituency ahead of the by-poll,” said Sarwar.
In his letter to the ECP, Sarwar demanded the NA-122 voters list of Sunday’s by-poll as well as of the 2013 general elections. “Democracy and rigging cannot coexist,” he said. “It appears from the number of complaints that there was planned rigging in the by-poll.”
Later in the evening, Sarwar issued a notification of forming a six-member investigation committee.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2015.