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ECP can't shift voters' names on its own: CJP Iftikhar

23 November, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Hearing the case regarding removal of errors in the fresh electoral lists, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry observed the Election Commission of Pakistan has no authority to shift the names of voters without their consent.

The chief justice said democracy should be strengthened, as it is the duty of the ECP to verify voter lists through door-to-door campaign. He also said it would be better if the issue of shifting the names of voters from Karachi to some other place was settled amicably.

A three-member bench, headed by the CJP, on Thursday sought details from the ECP as to how many people used the option regarding shifting of votes from Karachi to other towns/cities in the country and how many were not contacted regarding verification of their votes.

During the hearing, ECP Director General Shair Afgan admitted 4.8 million names of voters were not verified across the country, therefore, their names had been shifted to permanent addresses according to the commission's policy. He also said 2.7 million voters' names were not verified in Karachi.

Upon this, the CJP said it means the ECP did not contact the people for verification of their votes. He asked if the commission had not contacted the people, why were their names shifted from previous addresses. The court also accepted the MQM's petition for becoming party in the matter about the shifting of three million votes from Karachi.

Farogh Nasim, counsel for the MQM, rejected the claim of the Jamaat-e-Islami and Tehreek-e-Insaf regarding shifting of votes from Karachi. Hearing of the case has been adjourned until November 27.

On the last date of hearing, the court was surprised to know 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 were residing in the city for 10 to 15 years.


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