SC reserves verdict in electoral lists case


Before reserving the verdict in Karachi voters’ verification case, Chief Justice Ifthikar Muhammad Chaudhry on Wednesday suggested that help could be sought from Army and Rangers for conducting door to door verification of electoral lists in the commercial hub of the country. A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Azmat Saeed resumed hearing of the case jointly filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) against the shifting of thousands of votes of those people who have been living in the city for the last many years but this time their votes were not registered in the city but their native towns. On the other hand, counsel for Jamat-e-Islami, Rasheed A Rizvi told the court about a 120-yard house in Karachi where 653 votes had been registered. Farough Naseem counsel for Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) during the proceeding persistently tried that neither the shifting of votes from Karachi to other places is big issue not court can’t give its judgment. He said: “Unless there is actionable material the court can’t pass an order.” If the Court would pass order in this case then people from other provinces would approach the apex court with the same objections. Addressing the apprehensions shown by MQM’s lawyer, the court citied its judgment that assistance of Army is a lawful option. “If we talk about national interest, by this way we will be in a position to book the criminal elements as well as ECP will rectify the errors in the registration of votes,” he added. Justice Azmat asked the learned counsel that why he was showing reluctance for door to door verification process. The lawyer for MQM took 15 minutes to take instructions from MQM leadership and told the court after an interval that since the issue could not be resolved by one person so give us time for consensus. The court said it was not political issue and it was not deciding the matter. The court was about to announce a decision in this regard but MQM and ECP opposed this move and said that idea of launching reconfirmation campaign was not workable. The court repeatedly observed that “We failed to understand why MQM and ECP were opposing this move.” We were expecting positive response from all the political parties, the chief justice observed. During proceedings, the chief justice said that a number of complaints were being reported regarding electoral lists. The court was told that besides the court direction the ECP did not carry out verification of the voters in Karachi. However, Munir Parachi appearing on behalf of ECP contended that contrary to the claims of PTI, JI and PML only 68,000 votes could not be verified in door-to-door campaign. He said that some people, including Rana Shamim advocate, filled the forms requesting the ECP to shift their votes to the place of their permanent residences. Rana Shamim contradicted the statement of ECP counsel and said that it was wrong that he had filed any form for shifting his to votes out of Karachi.