MULTAN: The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) failed to authenticate the thumb impression of only 179 voters in NA-154.

It was revealed in a report submitted by the authority to an election tribunal regarding the verification of thumb impressions on the votes cast in NA-154 (Lodhran) here on Tuesday.

The constituency (NA-154) is among the four, where Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan had been demanding recounting and verification of the thumb impressions.

Also read: LHC rejects plea to stop poll record inspection

The election tribunal had directed Nadra to verify the thumb impression on May 21 on the request of PTI secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen.

Constituency is among four seats where PTI wants recounting and verification of thumb impressions

According to the report, 218,056 votes cast at 290 polling stations were received by Nadra from the election tribunal for verification, out of which 20,601 votes were with invalid Computerized National Identity Cards (CNIC) numbers or without CNIC numbers.

Similarly, 121 voters were found to be out of constituency, while there were 728 duplicate votes and 587 votes were without thumb impressions, the report says.

It says there were 73,707 votes having authenticated fingerprints, while thumb impression of only 179 votes could not be authenticated.

Nadra could not decipher 122,133 votes that were having fingerprints of bad quality due to unavailability of proposed (magnetic) ink, besides other possibilities. However, CNIC numbers mentioned on counterfoils of these votes having bad thumb impressions were valid.

The seat was won by an independent candidate, Muhammad Siddique Khan Baloch, who later joined the Pakistan Muslim League-N. Mr Tareen had challenged the results and applied for thumb verification.

According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Sadiq Baloch had bagged 86, 177 votes against Mr Tareen who stood second with 75, 955 votes. There were 370,150 registered votes, out of which 235,938 were polled. As many as 9,904 votes were rejected and the voting percentage was 67.4.

Tribunal judge Zahid Mehmood has fixed Nov 6 as the next hearing date of the case.

Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2014