LAHORE - In a second setback to the ruling PML-N in a week in its political fortress, Nadra informed an election tribunal on Saturday that around 94,000 votes cast in NA-122 constituency – from where incumbent National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq won in the 2013 general elections – were ‘unverified’.

The unverified votes in this Lahore constituency constitute ‘around 50 percent’ of the total votes cast on the polling day. The report presented by National Database and Registration Authority apparently strengthens the PTI position regarding alleged rigging in general elections, though the PML-N insists that electoral irregularities do not prove rigging on their part.

In the 781-page report, Nadra stated that 93,852 votes out of total 184,151 cast in the constituency were unverified while 6,123 ballot papers carried wrong CNIC numbers. The database authority said it could verify 73,478 votes out of the total.

The report comes six days after an election tribunal ordered repolling in Lahore’s NA-125 constituency, where PML-N’s outspoken Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique had been declared successful in the general elections.

The report showed that 370 counterfoils were having no CNIC numbers while 255 voters had doubled thumb impressions on counterfoils. As many as 1,715 votes had no thumb impression on counterfoils, it said. The forensic report further said that 136,000 votes were not verified by the electoral rolls.

Tribunal judge Kazim Ali Malik handed over the copy of the forensic report to the counsels of the both sides (PTI and PML-N) and summoned Nadra director general to record his statement on next hearing, May 16.

Imran Khan had challenged the victory of National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq alleging that massive rigging was done in the constituency from where he was elected as MNA. On December 8, 2014, the election tribunal concerned approved a petition of PTI chief for hearing and constituted a commission to probe the alleged rigging in NA-122, where Ayaz Sadiq had been declared winner with 93,389 votes against Imran’s 84,517.

On February 15, 2015, Imran Khan filed a request with the election tribunal pleading the court to order Nadra to hold verification of voters’ thumb impression. On March 4, tribunal judge Kazim Malik allowed the petition and ordered Nadra to hold thumb impression verification. Imran Khan had deposited Rs18,34,000 in a local bank in favour of Nadra to start inspection of voters’ thumb impression. Nadra charged Rs10 per vote verification.

Monitoring Desk adds: According to a private TV channel, Nadra in its report also said that 93,852 votes could not be processed because of the poor quality of the fingerprints.

After the report was presented, PTI counsel Anees Ali Hashmi asked whether the election was fair given that 51 percent of the votes could not be verified and claimed that this was the ‘second wicket’ that the PML-N will lose.

Earlier in January, a report by a local commission had stated that NA-122’s winning candidate Ayaz Sadiq had obtained 92,393 votes and Imran Khan had managed to secure 83,542. According to that report, the remaining 4,180 votes were polled in favour of other candidates.

NA-122 was among the four controversial constituencies — the other three being NA-110 (Sialkot), NA-125 (Lahore) and NA-154 (Lodhran) — where PTI had demanded for voters’ thumbprint-verification in the hope of finding a solution that might be acceptable to all concerned.

Following a tribunal’s announcement for repolling in NA-125, Pakistan PTI chief Imran Khan had said that Nadra would release a report pertaining to alleged rigging in NA-122 within a week.

Previously, an election tribunal ordered re-election in Lahore’s NA-125 and PP-155 constituencies after irregularities on the seats were proven during the 2013 general election.