ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Wednesday the issue of voters’ thumb impression verification should not be made a “political football” and asked the opposition to cooperate in resolving the issue once for all.
Speaking in the National Assembly, he said rhetoric or hollow speeches on the issue of voters’ verification should be avoided in the House. In each constituency from 60,000 to 70,000 votes were unverifiable, who could not be termed bogus, he added.
He said if magnetic ink was used in the last general elections, the responsible should be taken to the task. In most of the constituencies magnetic ink had not been used, he said.
He question being an effective tool, why was the magnetic ink not being used in the ensuing local bodies’ elections. According to media reports, he said, Rs 2 billion were spent on purchasing magnetic ink. After checking the record it was transpired that the magnetic ink worth Rs 160 million had been used only in the general elections, he added.
Responding to the allegations leveled by the Leader of the Opposition that the control of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) was being handed over to PTI’s Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed, Nisar said the government did not want to interfere in the affairs of NADRA. The Election Commission had only been requested to supervise the thumb impression verification process.
He said he had only offered to resolve the issue as per desires of the opposition by saying that the verification process could be supervised by the choicest person of the opposition.
Regarding the delay in decision of election tribunals and non-use of magnetic ink, he said the government had no control over the two organizations.
Legislators of opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) jumped on their seats and protested the word “Tamasha” used by the Interior Minister referring to the PTI’s protests on the issue of thumb impression verification.
Nisar said the word ‘Tamasha’ was neither un-parliamentary nor he used it for the activities of opposition in the House, rather he used the word for the activities going on outside the Parliament House.