LAHORE: The Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP’s) move to include over 60 individuals in the Union Council-233 voter’s list whose address is stipulated to be a vacant plot in Township Sector A-1 has compromised the authenticity of the list, a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) man aspiring to become the area’s chairman told The Express Tribune.
Farid Ahmad Khan said he had raised the matter with the presiding officer. “I’m a local. I know that Plot-121 has been lying vacant. No one lives there. Despite this, the ECP has registered dozens of voters on the address,” he said. Khan said he had already complained to the ECP and Lahore High Court. He said he was waiting for his complaints to be addressed.
The aspiring chairman said balloting had been progressing smoothly before he had discovered the discrepancy. He said the attitude of the ECP staff, who had not been entertaining the complaints of PTI candidates, had compromised the entire process. Another local, who was the first to draw attention to the issue, said the ECP had registered over 60 Christian individuals as being resident on the plot. He said the owner of the property lived in WAPDA Town and was contesting elections in the area. Quoting Haris Bhandara, a childhood friend of his, he said the present owner had purchased the plot from a family that had relocated to Canada. He said they had been pleading with the presiding officer to let the voters cast their ballots but mark them contested.
Presiding Officer Anwar Mahmood said he had travelled a distance of nearly 40 kilometres to discharge his duties on the occasion of the elections. “I’m not a local. I am not authorised to bar anyone from casting their vote if their name appears on the voter’s list,” he said. Mahmood said this had prevented him from entertaining Khan’s complaint. He said votes could only be challenged when the polling agents were not able to authenticate a person’s identity. After much hullabaloo, Mahmood succeeded in prevailing on the PTI candidates and supporters. Counselling them to raise the issue with the ECP, he said they should abstain from impeding balloting.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2015.