ISLAMABAD, Sept 2: The National Database and Registration Authority, Nadra, started on Monday verification of voters’ thumb impressions to address grievances relating to alleged electoral fraud.
Besides detecting a fake vote the verification will also identify the person who committed the malpractice.
Nadra Chairman Tariq Malik told Dawn that so far orders had been received from election tribunals to verify thumb impressions of voters in two National Assembly and one Sindh Assembly constituencies where a detailed inquiry was ordered.
The exercise would be carried out in an honest, transparent and fair manner, he added.
As orders for verification started pouring in, Nadra prepared a code of conduct for its employees who will do the job.“Honesty, integrity and fair practice create a solid foundation that earns the trust of public. Nadra’s code of conduct is an expression of this solid foundation,” Mr Malik said.
He said: “I see this code of conduct as a pragmatic necessity for running a non-political organisation in a complex but very politically charged society.”
He called for strict compliance by all concerned to these guidelines for satisfactory results.
He said that besides Nadra’s employees, the code of conduct was also for public representatives, petitioners and respondents.
The guidelines, he said, were aimed at ensuring and maintaining political impartiality and avoiding conflict of interest in performing tasks of national importance in a non-political, professional and honest manner.
Mr Malik said Nadra employees involved in the project had to sign an undertaking under oath for impartiality. They would perform the task with dedication and sincerity without any fear or favour and would not directly or indirectly contact petitioners or respondents, he added.
All Nadra employees will also ensure that evidence forwarded by an election tribunal are handled with utmost care. Any alteration or manipulation in the evidence will be liable to a punitive action under the law.
All verification reports will be submitted to the election tribunal only and no-one else will have access to them.
Mr Malik said Nadra had beefed up its security and sought help from the ministry of interior for police support.
He said the code of conduct also contained guidelines for petitioners and respondents. All facilities, including but not limited to Nadra headquarters and scanning and digitisation facility where verification exercise would be conducted, will remain out of bounds for petitioners and respondents. The same restriction will apply to candidates who contested in the May 11 general elections.
Nadra will charge in advance and through a demand draft Rs10 per vote for verification. No payment will be made in cash or in addition to the charges for services being rendered.
Petitioners and respondents will submit their response, including necessary evidence to support their arguments, directly to election tribunals.