ISLAMABAD – The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced on Wednesday that electronic voting and biometric verification would be used at some polling stations in NA-120 (Lahore) where by-polls are scheduled for September 17.
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The methodology would be used for the first time in the rigging-scarred electoral history of the country and according to ECP, 150 biometric and 100 electronic voting machines would be deployed as a trial run for the cut-throat battle of Lahore.
The seat of the Lower House of the Parliament fell vacant after a five-member bench of the Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz Sharif for concealing his employment with Capital FZE, a firm owned by his younger son Hassan Nawaz, in its Panama case judgment.
Those machines will also be used in the Punjab Assembly constituency PP-4 (Gujjar Khan) where by-elections will be held the same day.
The crucial, stronghold of ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, NA-120 has a total of 321,633 voters. Among those 179,505 are male while 142,128 are female voters.
The ECP has already announced the polling scheme. There will be a total of 220 polling stations in the constituency. Of these 103 will be for male voters, 98 for female voters and 19 combined. Altogether 568 polling booths will be set up in those polling stations.
The commission has already appointed 220 presiding officers, 568 assistant presiding officers and polling officers each.
The commission has contacted the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to provide it with the required data of voters to be uploaded in EVMs and Biometric machines.
Majorly, there are two key contestants for the electoral tussle- PTI and PML-N. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has already fielded Yasim Rashid to contest the elections, however, the ruling party is still brainstorming over who to pitch against the PTI’s candidate.
It was announced by PML-N that Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif would contest the elections in a bid to succeed Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as prime minister of the country.
However, multiple reports suggest that Shahbaz Sharif might not make it to the National Assembly and an heir of former premier Maryam Nawaz or his wife Kulsoom Nawaz might throw a gauntlet to the PTI candidate.
Any official statement in this regard is yet to be issued the by embattled ruling party, currently out on streets as part of the homegoing rally of ousted premier Nawaz Sharif.