The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) ordered on Sunday a forensic audit of a leaked video that allegedly shows Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers buying votes in Lahore’s NA-133 constituency, Aaj News reported.
The National Assembly seat had fallen vacant after the death of PML-N's Pervaiz Malik last month.
Taking notice of the video, Returning Officer (RO), Syed Basit Ali, wrote letters to Deputy Commissioner Lahore, Inspector-General Police (IGP) Punjab, Chairman NADRA and Chairman PEMRA, directing authorities to identify those in the video and take necessary action.
The RO directed IG Punjab and DC Lahore for a forensic of the video to ascertain when and where it was recorded and demanded a report by November 30.
The video that went viral on mainstream and social media on Sunday morning shows two activists taking pledges from voters and paying them money, reportedly, Rs2,000 each.
Soon after it was out, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill criticised PML-N for reverting to what he called "old tactics" and urged the ECP to take action on the video.
“The ECP will have to take action on the way PML-N is openly buying votes in NA-133. If the ECP delays taking action on it, the neutrality of the ECP is likely to be severely affected. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) demands that the PML-N candidate be disqualified and severely punished for buying votes.”
On Saturday, the ECP also served a show-cause notice to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) candidate over the violation of the election code of conduct and summoned him to the ECP office on Monday, November 29.
Separately, the Ministry of Interior also approved the deployment of Rangers personnel for the NA-133 by-election at the request of ECP.
The election commission had requested the deployment of the paramilitary troops to maintain law and order on the polling day. The ECP has established 254 polling stations and 821 polling booths in the Lahore constituency. As many as 21 polling stations have been declared as ‘extremely sensitive’ and 199 polling stations as ‘sensitive.’