LAHORE - PML-N and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf on Wednesday agreed in Lahore High Court on a point that National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) would not verify thumb impressions of votes cast in NA-118 during the May 11 general elections as the matters of same nature were pending before the Supreme Court.
A Divisional Bench of the LHC comprising Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Shujaat Ali Khan heard a petition moved by PML-N MNA Malik Riaz challenging an Election Tribunal’s decision ordering the verification of thumb prints on an application of PTI’s Hamid Raza.
As hearing started on Wednesday, Additional Attorney General Naseer Ahmad Bhutta appeared before the bench and submitted that the ballot papers were used for secret balloting and could not be made public.
He argued that the thumb impressions of voters were not taken on ballot paper but on counter file due to which their verification was impossible.
The bench was told that similar matters were pending before the Supreme Court and it was best that the instant appeal was kept pending and the judgment of the apex court was awaited. During the course of hearing, both parties, PML-N and PTI agreed that till the next date of hearing NADRA would not proceed with the implementation of the Election Tribunal order, however, the record received by NADRA would remain within its custody till further orders.
The bench adjourned further hearing till January 16th, 2014.
Malik Riaz through his counsel had submitted in LHC that there was no provision in the law for votes to be verified as genuine through thumbprints. He also argued that it was impossible to verify all 150,000 votes cast at NA-118. He said that the Election Tribunal’s order was illegal and should be declared as such by the LHC.
The Election Tribunal had on November 18th, on a plea by Hamid Zaman of the PTI, who was declared the runner up to Malik Riaz at NA-118, directed the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to verify that the votes cast at NA-118 were genuine by examining the thumb prints on them. Hamid’s lawyers argued that grave illegalities and corrupt practices had been committed in the general elections by the respondent, his polling agents and his supporters in connivance with Punjab government officials.  They said that some votes cast in his favour had been counted as votes for Malik Riaz, and many votes cast in favour of the respondent had been illegal and fraudulent.