ISLAMABAD - Hearing the case regarding removal of errors in fresh electoral lists on Thursday, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry observed that Election Commission of Pakistan had no authority to shift the names of voters from one constituency or place to another without their consent.

The chief justice said that democracy should be strengthened and it is the duty of ECP to verify the voter lists through door-to-door campaign. He said that it would be better that the matter about shifting the name of voters from Karachi to places of their origin should be settled mutually. The CJP directed the counsels of PTI, MQM and JI to sit together and sort out resolution to this issue.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice, sought details from ECP that how many people used the option regarding shifting of votes from Karachi to other towns or cities of Pakistan and how many people could not be contacted regarding the verification of their votes.

During the course of hearing, Director General ECP, Sher Afgan briefed the court that throughout the country they were able to touch 80 per cent voters and when the rest of voters could not contacted then the ECP made a policy to shift those votes to places of their origin on the basis of addresses mentioned on their CNICs. He admitted that they could not touch 4.2 million voters all over the country, including 2.7 in Karachi.

Upon this, the CJP said that it means that ECP did not contact the people for verification of their votes. He said if the commission did not contact the people for verification of their votes, why their names were shifted from old places. He said no voter should be deprived of casting his vote.

The court directed him to submit a report that how many people have filled the performa to change their polling stations and also inform that how many votes of those people have been transferred by the ECP itself who did not filled the performa.

The ECP was also ordered to inform how many voters have been registered on the same address given on their CNICs in Karachi. How many applications received by ECP in Karachi for shifting of voters to other places?

Earlier, the bench accepted MQM petition for becoming party on the matter about shifting of 3 millions votes from Karachi. How many voters could not be touched in Karachi but their votes were transferred by the ECP to other places itself.

Farough Naseem, counsel for MQM rejected the Jamaat-e-Islami and Tehreek-e-Insaf claim regarding the shifting of votes from Karachi. Hearing of the case is adjourned till November 27.

On the last date of hearing, the court was surprised to know that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) officials had been ‘hijacked’ by a political party (MQM) in Karachi, as more than three million votes had been shifted from the city to permanent addresses, despite the fact that people are residing in the city for 10 to 15 years.