In the first major controversial result, a conflict has emerged between the results announced for NA-15 Mansehra, which former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Supremo Nawaz Sharif was contesting.
Nawaz was contesting the seat against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) backed Shehzada Muhammad Gushtap Khan.
According to Form 47 (sheet of final consolidated results) for NA-15 issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on their official elections results portal, Nawaz bagged 80,382 votes.
By comparison, Gushtap Khan secured 105,249 votes and won the seat.
Mufti Kifayatullah of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) was third after securing 29,931 votes.
However, the PML-N posted an image of a signed copy of Form 47 from the designated Returning Officer, Additional Deputy Commissioner Hajira Sami, in which Nawaz Sharif was shown to have received 123,070 votes.
Gushtap had received 87,600 votes.
Both forms said 247,600 votes had been cast, including 140,288 by men and 107,312 by women. Of these, 9,082 votes were excluded from the final count because they were incorrectly cast.
This left the final count of total votes at 238,518 and a turnout of 38.38%.
A tally of the votes received by each candidate mentioned on Form 47 released by the ECP tallied with the final count mentioned at the top of the form.
For the image of Form 47 released by the PML-N, the tally reached 263,557 votes, some 15,957 more than the votes polled in the constituency.
A forensic analysis of the images showed that while the ECP released a PDF of the image of Form 47, it appeared to be a proper scan with clear numbers, even if the names were not as crisp as the numbers due to the difference in font, the ECP document could be zoomed in several hundred times for a clearer look at each row of results.
A false colour Error Level Analysis of a full-sized screenshot (saved as a lossless PNG) taken of ECP's Form 47 also showed that the result sheet was fairly consistent in all the ink on printed paper and a clear stamp with clear dates and signatures.
By comparison, the image of Form 47 shared by the PML-N was quite poor in quality.
Zooming into the image showed that it quickly became illegible. It also seemed to carry some speculars of light, as if shot from behind a reflective surface like a glass pane with a mobile phone flash. We also see a signature of the suspected mobile device with which the original image could have been taken.
A false colour Error Level Analysis of the original image shared by PML-N via their official account on social media platform 'X' (formerly known as Twitter) showed that there were artifacts in the image, which was saved at 75% JPEG quality. However, the artifacts did not just appear where the two specific results were.
What is curious to note is that in the result sheet issued by the PML-N, Nawaz's vote tally is shown as 123,070. The result immediately below Nawaz's, of independent candidate Muhammad Haroon, is listed as 3,070.
The way "3,070" appears in Nawaz's result is very similar to the "3,070" for Haroon but has a slightly larger clearing from the cell separator line below it. The "12" of 123,070 also appear to have an inconsistent gap between them.
If we examine Gashtap's vote tally, we again see inconsistency in the gaps between the number and the table cell walls. In fact, they are more pronounced here than when compared to Nawaz's result.
The numbers, too, appear inconsistent, with the "8" of "87,600" appearing to be cut from the top while the top of 7 is far sharper and thicker.
In fact, if you scroll to where the total votes cast in the constituency are listed: "247,600" and examine it closely, you will find the "7" here consistent with the "7" where Gashtap's vote tally has been listed.
The image shared by PML-N is suspect by virtue of several factors:
1. The vote tallies do not match
2. The image quality is far too poor
3. Digital artifacts on the image
4. Suspect and inconsistent numbers
Both sides need to offer a greater explanation for the source of their results to definitively put this argument to rest.
As it stands, the ECP image appears more credible than the one shared by the PML-N.