ISLAMABAD - Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Wednesday rejected allegations of vote fraud in NA-68, Sargodha, contending discrepancy in the vote count was due to typing mistake.

The ECP termed the vote count discrepancy a typist’s mistake and decided not to act against the presiding and returning officers in NA-68 from where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had won.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan had repeatedly alleged that more than 7, 000 votes were cast at a polling station against total 1,500 registered voters.

Sher Afgan, a senior ECP official, while announcing the decision, said that rigging did not take place in the NA-68 constituency during the May 11 general elections last year and declared the discrepancy in the vote count to be a typing error.

While speaking to media persons, Election Commission of Pakistan Additional Secretary Sher Afgan, said that the typing errors made by returning officers were not uncommon. “In the previous elections there had also been typing errors which the Election Commission corrected immediately and the contestants in lead were notified,” he added. He asserted it had become necessary to look into the count due to the allegations of rigging.

The Election Commission had ordered a probe into the polling station 262 which revealed there were 1,537 registered voters and 779 were cast in favour of Nawaz Sharif. However, because of a typing error, the result had been recorded as 7,889, he explained. Afgan also stated that the seat was declared as vacant immediately after the elections and included in the by-election list. The results from the by-election did not show any anomaly, he added. The ECP official said that no further action would be taken regarding this matter and that the documents would be made public soon.

Due to a considerable difference in the number of votes given by the presiding officer and the returning officer, the Election Commission had previously decided to hold a meeting to verify whether this was a typing error or rigging.

Meanwhile, the ECP has decided to punish those who cast multiple votes in 26 National Assembly constituencies of the country in the general election elections last year. All the electron tribunals have been directed to send their reports within a week.

Thumbprint verification in NA-154

Online adds: The election tribunal in Multan accepted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) General Secretary Jehangir Tareen's request for thumbprint verification of the votes cast in the NA-154 constituency during the May 11 general elections last year.

Sadiq Baloch had outvoted Tareen in NA-154 during the elections.

The election tribunal stated that the case will be sent to National Database Registration Authority (Nadra). The tribunal said that all the material related to the elections including the tribunal boxes will be sent to Nadra in the next three days.

 After the material is sent, investigation into the alleged rigging will begin and a report will be submitted to the tribunal within 10 days.