The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has ordered the relevant authorities to ascertain the authenticity of videos circulating on social media in which some workers of a political party can purportedly be seen distributing cash “for getting on-oath pledges from voters to cast votes” for their party candidate.
The videos have been doing the rounds on social media a few days before the December 5 by-election in Lahore’s NA-133 constituency. The clips have caused quite a stir on social media, leading to a war of words between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders.
The Returning Officer (RO) Syed Basit Ali wrote a letter to the Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) ordering the police to verify the authenticity of the videos and to identify and arrest the people who can be seen in those clips.
In another letter to the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) Chairman, the RO asked for help in identifying the people in the video. The RO also wrote to Lahore Deputy Commissioner (DC) asking him to identify the building in which the video was shot. Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) also received a letter asking them to verify the originality of the video.
The clips led PML-N and PPP leaders to hurl accusations at each other about buying votes. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) candidate was disqualified by the ECP because their vote registered in another constituency.