Monitoring Desk

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has taken notice of a viral video purportedly showing that voters in Lahore’s NA-133 constituency were being given bribe ahead of the by-polls.
The by-elections in the constituency, which has been devoid of representation in the National Assembly after the demise of PML-N Lahore chapter’s central leader Pervez Malik, are scheduled to be held on December 5.
On Sunday, the returning officer sent a notice to the Lahore commissioner and the Punjab police chief, seeking their help in identifying the individuals in the video.
The notice was also served to the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) chairman and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) chairman, wherein the ECP directed the authorities concerned to submit the inquiry report by November 30.
The ECP has directed the authorities concerned to conduct forensic of the viral footage, ascertain the identity and collect complete bio data of the suspects.
It also directed the officials to identify the place where money was allegedly being distributed to buy votes.
The leaked video triggered a war of words between the two opposition parties with PML-N accusing PPP of buying loyalties of their voters.
“PPP should stop luring people ahead of the by-elections which they cannot win,” PML-N leader Ali Pervaiz Malik said in a tweet.
PPP central Punjab’s general secretary Syed Hasan Murtaza hit back at PML-N, saying “the PML-N is paying respect to money instead of vote in NA-133 elections”.
He added that his party will compete with PML-N in the by-poll through “its ideology instead of using money”.
Ruling PTI Senator Ejaz Chaudhary in a tweet said that the dubious video has “exposed the true face of the PML-N”.
“This is why they [PML-N] are against EVMs (electronic voting machines),” he added.
Earlier this month, the ECP had said that no proposal was under consideration to postpone the NA-133, Lahore by-election.
An ECP spokesperson said in a statement that the by-election would be held in NA-133 on December 5, as per schedule.
However, “if the situation changes, the ECP may take further action in this regard”, he concluded.
The Punjab Home Department had written a letter to the ECP for the postponement of NA-133 by-election, citing security situation as the reason.