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January 4, 2015

Commission completes vote audit in NA-122


January 4, 2015

LAHORE: A commission assigned the task of inspection of the election record in NA-122 constituency completed its work in all 284 polling stations on Saturday.
The commission comprising retired sessions judge Ghulam Hussain is likely to submit its report to Election Tribunal Lahore Judge Kazim Malik, within a week.
The Election Tribunal appointed a local commission on Dec 7, 2014, to open ballot bags and inspect the election record of NA-122 while accepting a plea of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan against alleged rigging in NA-122 by the ruling PML-N party.
The tribunal directed the commission to audit the election record in accordance with Section 46 of the Representation of the People Act (ROPA), 1976. The commission was asked to check availability of election forms numbers 14, 15 and 16 in the record, along with availability of counterfoils of ballot papers.
Moreover, checking of results, provided by the Returning Officer and the number of polled votes available in the bags, was also part of the inspection. The commission was also to check stamps and signatures of presiding officers on ballot papers along with serial numbers of ballot papers, issued on polling stations in their respective ballot-paper bundles.
The commission, while following the directions under Section 46 of ROPA, verified ballot papers through availability of their respective counterfoils along with availability of thumb impressions of voters.
The court, however, had not directed the commission to recount the votes but to inspect the election record of NA-122.
According to Section 39 (6a) of ROPA, a Returning Officer can order recount of votes within three days of the election or the Election Commission of Pakistan under ROPA 39 (6b) can issue directions for the recount of votes.
Though the commission is yet to compile and submit his report to the tribunal, both contesting parties have started claiming their victory in NA-122.
Anees Hashmi Advocate,

representing Imran Khan, claimed that the commission found more than 15,000 counterfoils having no thumb impressions and signatures of the presiding officer. He said the number of available votes is more than number of counterfoils. He claimed that during the course of inspection, it was revealed that ballot papers were of different paper quality and sizes; some were printed on glazed paper and others on rough paper. He raised a question as to how could ballot papers be of different quality in a single ballot bundle.
Anees further said even the colours of ballot papers were different. The commission also found ballot papers of NA-124 in the record of NA-122, he added. Commenting on the press conference by Ali Ayaz, son of National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, he said after submission of the audit report to the tribunal, Ali Ayaz would hold another press conference. He said 50 to 60 polling stations were without forms of 14, 15 and 16.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Punjab government, Zaeem Qadri, addressed a press conference along with Ali Ayaz. He termed inspection of election record recounting of votes in NA-122 and claimed that the commission found no evidence of rigging. He said rumours should be avoided till the Election Commission announces the result. He said even the second recounting proved that people have rejected Imran Khan. Ali Ayaz said no bogus votes were found in the polling bags. He said Imran should admit his defeat.
APP adds: Information and Broadcasting Minister Pervaiz Rashid Saturday said in federal capital recounting in NA-122 constituency frustrated the PTI which was levelling baseless allegations of rigging. He said the cumulative lead of Ayaz Sadiq over PTI chief Imran Khan had increased by 134 votes compared to the previous results.
Online adds: PTI chief Imran Khan on Saturday said revelation of thousands of fake votes during vote recounting in NA-122 vindicated PTI’s stance regarding last general elections.
Talking to a private news channel, Imran said rigging was confirmed at the polling stations pointed out by the PTI.

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