Asad Umar warns of ‘difficult situation’ if ECP fails to do justice during Punjab by-polls

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ISLAMABAD, JUL 8: PTI Secretary General Asad Umar warned on Friday that the country would move towards a “difficult situation” if the public perceived the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was “not doing justice or becoming a silent spectator when the law is violated” during the upcoming by-elections in Punjab.

He was addressing a press conference in Islamabad in connection with the by-elections that will be held on July 17.

The PTI has alleged that “interference” is afoot 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 ex-PTI candidates the ruling parties are backing.

In his press conference today, Umar asked party workers to fully prepare for the upcoming elections.

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

He also criticised the electoral watchdog and “advised” it to allot itself an election symbol as well since it was “behaving like a political party”.

Umar went on to say claim that it was clear that PTI was “leading prominently” in all constituencies they had visited, as he cited polls.

“And it is not surprising, especially with the extraordinary increase 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 said it was evident and the “fake” government could also see that.

“Elections will be held on the 17th and then chief minister’s election will be held on 22, after which this story will be concluded,” Umar said. “But they are not ready to go away so easily.”

He lamented the manner in which the law and the Constitution were “being violated” and the people were being “harassed and terrorised”.

The former minister 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,” he added.

‘Illegally registering votes’

“The most dangerous thing is illegally registering votes. We have filed a petition. Individual petitions have already been filed but ECP has not taken any action.”

Umar added that the law “clearly says votes cannot be changed once election date is announced”, but claimed that new votes had been registered in 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.”

In response to a question, the PTI secretary-general said the party’s fight was against injustice, undemocratic attitudes and foreign interference.

It is not against one individual, it is an ideological battle, he emphasised.

Meanwhile, the ECP issued a clarification on the matter, saying media reports regarding the registration of votes were “unfounded and based on propaganda to mislead the masses”.