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Election Commission orders probe, arrests over Lahore vote-buying videos


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ISLAMABAD:-The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to act a videos showing alleged PMLN workers paying bribes to voters in return for their votes in Lahore’s NA-133 constituency.

Thousands of people will vote in the NA-133 by-polls on December 5 and the electioneering is in full swings.

The videos in question went viral on social media on Saturday night. One of the video shows what appears to be a party office of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz. At least two party activists sit at a desk and women enter the room one after the other.

The activists make women to pledge that they would vote for the PMLN. “I swear with my hand on the Quran that on the fifth date [of December] I would vote for Muslim League Noon [PMLN],” repeats each of the women after the alleged PLMN workers.

After the pledge, they receives Rs2,000 each and leave. Another video shows the same place with male voters taking the pledge.

The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has been calling on the ECP to take notice of the view and act against the PMLN.

PTI leaders shared the video on Twitter and other social media platforms.

Punjab PTI President Ejaz Chauhdry also shared the video and said “this is the reason that they [PMLN] have been opposing the EVMs [electronic voting machines].”

The PMLN, on the other hand, termed the video as fake and staged. It also emphasized that “characters” in the video wear face masks.

PMLN MNA Ali Pervez Malik has blamed the videos on another opposition party, the Pakistan Peoples Party, which is the only other major party contesting the elections. The PTI is not part of the election contest as its candidate and covering candidate had their nomination papers rejected earlier this month.

Malik said his party had lodge complaints with the ECP. The PPP has rejected the allegations from the PMLN.

Orders from the Returning Officer

The ECP Returning Officer (RO) for NA-133 on Sunday ordered the authorities to identify the persons recorded on the video.

RO Syed Basit Ali sent letters to district authorities and the Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP).

He has ordered a forensic audit of the videos to ascertain “the authenticity of these footages and also to track the origin of these footages.”

The RO has also instructed the authorities to identify where the videos were recorded and who were the persons seen in the videos. He has ordered the arrest of “any such person who is found involved in any illegal/ corrupt practices in relations to the by-election in the constituency NA-13.”

The IGP has been told to submit a report to the RO by Tuesday, November 30.

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