Videos become viral ahead of NA-133 by-poll ECP orders to arrest persons buying votes

Observer Report

The Election Commission of Pakistan has ordered authorities to conduct forensic analyses of video clips and arrest the persons, who can be seen in the videos, distributing cash “for getting on-oath pledges from voters to cast votes” in their favour.

The videos, which surfaced on social media days ahead of the by-election in Lahore’s NA-133 constituency scheduled for December 5, have caused an uproar on Twitter, with PML-N and PPP leaders accusing each other of trying to buy votes in the constituency.

The National Assembly seat had fallen vacant after the death of PML-N’s Pervaiz Malik last month.

On Sunday, Returning Officer Syed Basit Ali wrote separate letters to the Punjab Police chief, the National Database and Registration Author-ity, Lahore deputy commissioner and the Paki-stan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, drawing attention to the footage and seeking more information about the persons seen in the video clips in order to take action against them.

According to the letters, the videos show “people standing in long queues” and others not-ing their CNIC numbers.

“Behind the scene dis-cussions give an impression that voters’ creden-tials are being noted for buying their votes by paying them some amounts in cash,” the letter states, adding that some pictures and banners of contesting candidates can also be seen in the background.

In his letter to the Punjab IGP, RO Ali ordered police to carry out forensic analyses of the videos in order to ascertain their authenticity as well as their origin.

The letter also directed the police to identify the people visible in the footage and arrest them, while also identifying the building where the activity was taking place.

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