ISLAMABAD, July 5: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has struck 37 million bogus entries off the electoral rolls, Secretary Ishtiak Ahmed Khan said on Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting with Chairman National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) Ali Arshad Hakeem and Secretary Statistics Division Asif Bajwa, he said the 37 million entries, found to be unverified by Nadra, would not be part of the electoral rolls 2011.

Deputy Chairman Nadra Tariq Malik and other officials of the ECP were also present at the press conference.

He said Nadra has issued 36 million new computerised national identity cards (CNICs) since 2008 elections, which would be added to the voters' list.

He however said the electoral rolls 2007 would remain valid till new error-free electoral rolls replace them. He added that the by-elections during the period would be conducted on the basis of the old electoral rolls.

Khan said the door-to-door verification of 80 million voters from July 18 would be completed by August 16. He said the voters list would be completed by December 2011. “The representatives of ECP would approach each voter and later the list will be handed over to Nadra.”

He said the candidates in the next general elections would have to declare their nationalities. “Those with dual-nationality would be barred from contesting the polls. A column will be added in the nomination forms to seek information on candidates' nationality through amendment in the Peoples' Representation Act.”

He said all by-elections held in the absence of Election Commission were legally protected. “We conducted by-elections in accordance with the constitution.”

He pointed out that under article 26 of the constitution the ECP is supposed to hold within 60 days elections to fill vacant seats.

A three-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, hearing a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan against bogus votes in 2007 voter lists, had raised questions about the status of by-elections held in the absence of ECP. Justice Javed Iqbal, in his capacity as acting chief election commissioner, had also remarked that the by-elections held in the absence of commission had become questionable.

Malik Tariq said Nadra had issued CNICs to 91 per cent of the adult population. About preparing error-free electoral rolls, he said the major work was to be done by the ECP, adding that the Nadra was to provide support and necessary assistance.

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