3m Karachi residents enrolled in their native towns: SC asks Election Commission to rectify error
ISLAMABAD, Nov 21: The Supreme Court asked the Election Commission on Wednesday to transfer at least three million voters now registered in their native towns to Karachi where they have been living for many years.
“There are credible complaints and the ECP, subject to all just exceptions, may also examine the possibility of reversing the names of voters back to Karachi where their names were previously recorded,” the court said.
It also asked the commission to provide an option to the voters if they really desired to transfer their votes to Karachi. The exercise should be completed before the announcement of elections schedule.
A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed had taken up petitions of PTI chief Imran Khan and Jamaat-i-Islami complaining that votes of a sizeable number of people living in Karachi had been registered in their native towns of Swat, Mingora, Mansehra and Attock, although they had been living in the city for 10 to 15 years.
Advocate Hamid Khan, representing the PTI chief, Rasheed A. Razvi, the counsel for JI chief Munawar Hassan, and M. Shamim Rana, appearing on behalf of PML-N leader Irfanullah Khan Marwat, complained about faulty voters’ list in Karachi.
Advocate Rana alleged that ECP’s Karachi office had been hijacked by a particular group.
The court observed that the nation could not afford postponement of the general elections and asked the petitioners to come up with practical solution to the problem.
The chief justice said his own vote was registered in Quetta but he was happy.
The court asked ECP Secretary Ishtiak Ahmed under what circumstances the names of about three million voters had been shifted from Karachi to other towns and cities.
In its order, the court mentioned the complaint of senior counsel Khalid Anwar who while appearing in a different case pointed out that without the consent of voters, the names of a large number of people had been shifted from Karachi to other towns. He
had also sought an order for the ECP to rectify and correct the voters’ list in Karachi.
Hamid Khan said that according to credible information, the commission had failed to register 100 per cent voters while revising the lists, despite commitment made by the ECP secretary. It could be safely said that only 10 per cent voters had been approached by the electoral staff during door-to-door verification campaign, he added.
Rasheed Razvi said it was surprising that in Karachi a good number of people had been shown to be voters of different parts of the country, although they had been living in the city for over a decade and also cast their votes in the 2008 elections.
He cited the apex court’s 2012 judgment in the Workers’ Party case in which it was ruled that for accurate preparation or revision of the electoral roll, the commission should undertake door-to-door checking of voters’ lists, complete the process of
updating/revising the electoral roll and, if needed, engage the army and the Frontier Corps.
The hearing was adjourned for Thursday.