ISLAMABAD - Over 21,000 more voters got registered in NA-122 compared to the number of votes in 2013 elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan clarified yesterday and rejected allegations of vote transfer.

The ECP’s response comes after Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan complained of foul play in the recently concluded by-election saying that authorities transferred voters to other areas to favour ruling PMIL-N candidate.

Rejecting the allegations of vote transfer, ECP said that over 21,000 voters were added to the total number of registered voters in NA-122 during the by-polls. The total number of voters in 2013 election was 326,028 in this constituency, it said.

Talking to The Nation, ECP spokesman said that more votes were cast in the by-polls than in the general elections, which was a solid proof that maximum number of voters turned out to use their electoral right.

“If we believe the allegations of vote transfer then the number of votes should have witnessed decline. But in reality the number of voters has increased. It means the allegations are false and baseless,” the spokesman said.

The ECP in a statement issued here explained that it has already provided ‘Voter Lists’ used in General Elections 2013 as well as the one used in bye-election to the PTI representatives on their request.

It further said that during general elections, there were 326,028 registered voters in NA-122 whereas during bye-election the total registered voters in NA-122 were 347,762, showing increase of 21,734 votes.

“As far as the allegation of PTI regarding shifting of votes without consent of voters is concerned, section 18 of Electoral Rolls Act 1974 warns that no vote can be transferred from one electoral area to another electoral area without the consent of a voter,” the ECP explained in the statement.

“It is mandatory to appear before the Registration Officer,” the spokesman said adding that only after the satisfaction of concerned officer, a vote is shifted to another electoral area at the desired address and consequently the vote is deleted from former place.

It said that the computerised voter list contains ‘one CNIC number and one voter’ so the vote is shifted at the voter’s desired address after satisfaction of concerned registration officer. The record of votes shifted under Section-18 of the Electoral Act 1974 is available in the offices of registration officers concerned.

The spokesman however reiterated that Election Commission of Pakistan is ready to provide any kind of relevant information to PTI for their satisfaction.

The PTI, after losing electoral contest in NA-122 to PML-N’s Ayaz Sadiq, immediately complained that many votes were shifted out of the constituency by election authorities at the eleventh hour.

Former Punjab governor and PTI leader Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar even threatened to take the issue of vote transfer at international forums.

The PTI, though having lost the election, has not yet wholeheartedly accepted the results of the bye-polls though it rejoiced its win in PP-147.