ISLAMABAD, Dec 25: Four districts of Punjab account for around a million ‘unverified voters’, enrolled in the electoral rolls with their permanent addresses. Lahore leads the districts with 0.384 million such entries. According to the data available with Dawn, the three other districts are Faisalabad (0.256m), Rawalpindi (0.192m) and Rahimyar Khan (0.156m).
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had recently revealed that 4.8 million voters could not be contacted during the door-to-door verification exercise carried out to update the voters’ lists. Of the ‘unverified entries’ two million were in Punjab, 0.662 million in Sindh, 0.583 million in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 0.167 million in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and 0.163 million in Balochistan.
The other cities with a high concentration of unverified voters include Sargodha (0.141m), Gujranwala (0.131m), Multan (0.122m), Sialkot (0.112m), Okara (0.110m), Sheikhupura (0.107m) and Kasur (0.101m).
The districts with less than 100,000 (but still significant number of) unverified voters are Muzaffargarh (96,130), Gujrat (94,639), Vehari (87,361), Sahiwal (86,384), Bahawalpur (81,630), Khanewal (79,256), Bahawalnagar (64,542), Dera Ghazi Khan (63,156), Rajanpur (55,500), Jhang (54,684), Jhelum (51,993) and Narowal (49,994).
The members of the Senate Special Committee on Election Issues headed by Jahangir Badar had expressed serious concerns over what they called bogus entries in the electoral rolls.
The ECP and the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), however, had defended the ‘unverified voters’ and said that although they could not be contacted during the verification drive they were genuine voters and could not be disenfranchised.
When contacted, a senior official of Nadra said the authority had complete record of all such individuals, including their family tree, addresses and details of the people who attested their applications before issuance of computerised national identity cards to them. These individuals, he said, included members of the parliament, judges, government and semi-government employees and personnel of armed forces. He said such individuals could not be contacted either because of rain and flood or the law and order situation.