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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Secretary-General Asad Umar warned on Friday that the situation in the country would become difficult if the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) acted as “a silent spectator” despite seeing the violation of law ahead of the July 17 by-polls in Punjab.

Speaking at a presser, he called upon all his party workers to get ready in order to expose the imported regime’s “plan” to rig by-polls in Punjab.

The PTI has constantly been accusing the Punjab government and the ECP of planning to change the results of the upcoming by-polls.

It has blamed the government for allegedly changing voters’ lists and using state machinery to benefit the ex-PTI candidates, the ruling parties are backing.

“Whatever they do, the PTI will win with a big majority on July 17. Once Punjab goes out of the government’s hands, what will the imported prime minister do in Islamabad? We are heading towards new elections,” he added.

He also lambasted the ECP for acting as a silent spectator despite knowing the incumbent regime is violating the election code of conduct and advised it to “allot itself an election symbol” as well since it was behaving like a political party.

He went on to say that it was clear that the PTI was leading prominently in all constituencies they had visited, as he cited surveys done by various organizations.

“And it is not surprising, especially with the extraordinary rise in Imran Khan’s popularity in the last few months,” he added.

“And the most welcome aspect is that all the different societal sectors, from the lowest-earning ones to the most educated, we are seeing the nation uniting,” he added.

He said it was evident and the “fake government” could also see that.

He said the by-polls would be held on July 17 and then the chief minister’s election would be held on 22, after which that story would be concluded.

“But they are not ready to go away so easily,” he added. He lamented the manner in which the law and the Constitution were being violated and the people were being harassed and terrorised.

He claimed that direct calls were being made from assistant commissioners and district commissioners to officials in Punjab.

“Our people are being threatened and FIRs registered which is unfortunate. The most dangerous thing is illegally registering votes. We have filed a petition. Individual petitions have already been filed but the ECP has not taken any action,” he added.

Umar said the law clearly says votes cannot be changed once an election date is announced, but claimed that new votes had been registered in the electoral rolls issued.

“They are mostly those whose temporary or permanent addresses do not fall in that constituency [...] It is a test for the ECP and courts,” he added.

To a question, he said the party’s fight was against injustice, undemocratic attitudes, and foreign interference, adding it was not against one individual, it was an ideological battle.

He also spoke about the arrest of journalist Imran Riaz Khan. He pointed out that it had not yet been established which court had the jurisdiction to deal with the case.

“Can people not see this is a part of tactics being used to create terror,” he questioned.

“Imran Riaz Khan is not losing anything; he will come back as a hero. The damage rendered is to the public’s trust in the system. You cannot suppress thoughts with handcuffs,” he added.

During his press conference, he reiterated the party’s claims that their supporters were receiving calls from unknown numbers.

Umar alleged that housewives who supported the party were now receiving phone calls from unknown numbers warning them to stop posting on social media.

“Men in plainclothes came to the house of an 80-year-old widow and alleged that she had kidnapped a two-year-old girl,” he claimed.

“The more such tactics are used, the more passionate people will become,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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