ISLAMABAD: The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) submitted biometric analysis reports of 37 constituencies of the national and provincial assemblies on Monday to the judicial commission investigating allegations of rigging in the last general elections.
The biometric verification tests had been carried out by the authority on the orders of election tribunals and the reports had been sent to them.
A letter attached with the reports said the verification was a probabilistic matching exercise which might not always be accurate due to numerous circumstances. “Therefore, fingerprint verification report should only be considered one of the many collaborative pieces of evidence” submitted before the tribunal.
The system had been put in place with the hope that it would bring to an end impersonation and multiple voting.
However, initial reports for two constituencies submitted by Nadra revealed that magnetised ink had not been used for taking thumb impressions of the voters on electoral rolls.
The Election Commission had explained that the impression was to be taken with magnetised ink on electoral rolls carrying photographs, while simple ink was to be used on the ballot paper counterfoil. It said the two different inks created confusion and they were mistakenly used.
Although Nadra could not match all thumbprints, its reports were revealing.
One report disclosed that a man in a Karachi constituency cast over 200 votes at a women’s polling station. However, no presiding officer was taken to task.
Experts say that lack of a deterrent provision against presiding officers indulging in electoral fraud was one of the main obstacles in the way of holding fair elections, as impersonation and multiple voting can only take place in collusion with them.
The authority carried out the biometric verification for 15 constituencies of the National Assembly — NA-258, NA-256, NA-202, NA-200, NA-208, NA-211, NA-118, NA-267, NA-265, NA-215, NA-154, NA-218, NA-229, NA-40 and NA-20.
The verification was also conducted for Sindh Assembly’s constituencies PS-114, PS-23, PS-35, PS-09, PS-01, PS-128, PS-17, PS-32, PS-33, PS-08, PS-14, PS-27, PS-69, PS-62, PS-29 and PS-59; Balochistan Assembly’s PB-14, PB-41, PB-39 and PB-50; Punjab Assembly’s PP-147 and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly’s PK-58.
Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2015