Nadra comes out in defence of 4.8m ‘unverified voters’
ISLAMABAD, Nov 17: The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) declared on Saturday that 4.8 million voters registered at their permanent addresses without their consent held a valid and verified identity and termed the call of some parliamentarians for their disenfranchisement unjustified.
Such voters include 69 lawmakers, six judges of the Supreme Court, including Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, bureaucrats, army officers and a few TV anchors.
Nadra Chairman Tariq Malik told a select group of newsmen that these voters could not be verified in three attempts, but they should not be deprived of their right to vote. “If they have not contacted the Election Commission for any change (in their particulars), it means they are satisfied with the status of their entries,” he said.
He said that Senator Sughra Imam, who had been voicing concern over ‘unverified entries’, was amongst those who could not be contacted at her F-7 residence in Islamabad during the door-to-door verification campaign and was finally enrolled at her permanent address in Jhang.
Mr Malik said he was perturbed to see irresponsible remarks by lawmakers and described them as an attempt to create doubts about the voters’ lists.
He said the new voters’ lists were based on real identity and there was no reason to doubt their credibility.
He said over one million bank accounts existed in the name of these 4.8 million voters, over 680,000 of them possessed machine readable passports, 438,000 travelled abroad and returned to the country, 321,000 were beneficiaries of the Benazir Income Support Programme and Baitul Maal and 168,000 were recipients of flood relief.
The Nadra chief said 168,000 of them were taxpayers and 158,000 employees of government and semi-government organisations and armed forces personnel while 3,565 individuals had armed licences.
He said the details of family tree available in Nadra’s database contained about 8.7m family relations.
Mr Malik said that attempts of 18,000 aliens to secure Pakistani identity were frustrated over a period of one year.
He said Nadra had issued identity cards to 92.8m individuals while the number of voters was around 85 million.
He said it was for the first time that voters’ database, and not merely lists, had been created and no-one had multiple or even a duplicate entry in the electoral rolls.
The issue of 4.8m ‘unverified entries’ had cropped up at a recent meeting of the Senate’s special committee on election issues.