Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's (PTI) Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Thursday that voters from a single household have been split into various polling stations, which will "affect the voter turnout" in the NA-120 by-polls.
While addressing a press conference in Lahore to discuss the PTI's grievances regarding "the lack of a level playing field during the election campaign", Qureshi said: "In around 20 polling stations, in spite of being part of the same household, male members of a family have been assigned one polling station, while the female members of a family have been assigned another station which is 10 kilometres away. This does not make any sense."
"In situations like these, voters are discouraged and the turnout drops significantly. These are not general elections; the voter mindset is already different in by-polls," Qureshi added.
Pointing out another issue, Qureshi alleged that a number of National Identification Cards have been blocked in two union councils, which will prevent people from voting in the upcoming by-polls.
"According to our information, a large number of ID cards have been blocked in UC 50 and UC 81 — areas with a higher number of Pakhtoon residents where we expected the turnout to be in our favour," Qureshi said.
He added: "My question is: how is this a level playing field if these people — whose names are on the electoral roll and who have ID cards — will be kept from voting because their identification cards have been blocked."
Alleging unfair treatment by the Lahore Metropolitan Corporation, Qureshi said: "Promotional advertisements that we put up all over NA-120 for our candidate are removed by the city admin each night; however, the PML-N promotional material remains put up."
"The irony is that we actually paid to put up our material while the PML-N has not. If they have, they should show us the receipts," Qureshi said.
NA-120 by-poll preparations
There are 44 candidates for the seat that fell vacant after the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif in the Panamagate case. Polling will be held on Sept 17.
The constituency consists of Sanda, Shamnagar, Chauburji, Islamapura, Sanatnagar, Rajgarh, Rewaz Garden, Mozang, Lake Road, Lower Mall, New Anarkali, Lytton Road, Queens Road, Hall Road, Cooper Road, Mayo Hospital, Urdu Bazaar, Bilal Gunj, Ravi Colony, Kasurpura, Khokhar Town and Mominpura, where literacy rate as per official data is 75 per cent.
The ruling PML-N, which has fielded former first lady Kulsoom Nawaz for the contest, is more visible in the constituency as its election offices can be seen almost on each major road and in street in the area.
The ECP has sent a formal notice to the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), under Article 220, for the data required to implement a biometric electoral system in NA-120.
Article 220 of the Constitution demands that all federal executive authorities assist the ECP in the execution of its duties.
According to the notice sent to Nadra, the data keeper had not responded to the ECP’s repeated requests for electoral lists, details of thumb impressions, and photographs for NA-120 in order for the ECP to implement the use of biometric electoral system experimentally in the upcoming by-elections.
Nadra had been directed to send the required data to the ECP by August 17.