The Election Commission of Pakistan has decided to take action against those who defied clear instructions to use approved magnetic ink for thumb impressions of voters on counterfoil of ballot papers, The Express Tribune has learnt. The decision was taken after the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) apprised the commission that instead of the specified magnetic ink required for biometric verification, regular ink was used during polling in two National Assembly constituencies of Karachi, NA-256 and NA-258. While post-election tribunals are hearing complaints of rigging, the tribunal dealing with Karachi region sent a record of the cast votes at some polling stations to Nadra for verification. In NA-256, 57,000 ballot papers could not be verified because the thumb impressions on these ballots were marked with regular ink. Of those that could be verified, there were 5,893 duplicate or multiple votes cast. Over 11,000 used counterfoils had invalid CNIC numbers written.
Nadra chairman Tariq Malik, at a joint press conference with election commission secretary Ishtiak Ahmad Khan, told reporters that his organisation could authenticate only those counterfoils that contained thumb impressions with enough ridge, which were readable in the fingerprint software.
It is not just Nadra’s software but any software in the world cannot authenticate such fingerprints unless the specified ink is used, he explained.
However, Malik clarified that it did not mean that all of these votes were bogus. Nadra is only providing technical support and all stakeholders including the media and political parties should not draw any conclusions, he said. “We have submitted our findings based on technical expertise only,” he added.