ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan on Wednesday claimed that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), in secrecy with PML-N leader Hamza Shahbaz, tried to defeat us [PTI] in the Punjab by-polls. Imran Khan said that they [coalition government] “disrespected the public” by considering them “sheep and goats” and tried imposing “corrupt people” on them. The ex-prime minister recalled that when the PTI announced its “Azadi March” on May 25, “they [coalition government] made all efforts to create hurdles for the families that came out to support the Haqeeqi Azadi.” “Today, I want to thank the Almighty that despite all the impediments, people came out to show support rather than staying at home out of fear,” he said. He added that he was glad that the people of Pakistan started becoming a nation now. “Throughout my life, I have witnessed such enthusiasm only once before and that was during the 1965 war; at that time, everybody thought that the nation was fighting. And now, I saw the same enthusiasm among the masses during the by-polls in the 20 constituencies of Punjab,” he said. Khan further elaborated that all-out efforts were employed to defeat the PTI in the by-elections. “First of all, Hamza was illegally imposed on us,” and even when he was ordered by the top court to refrain from using any state machinery and administration for personal gains, he used all of the aforementioned to rig the elections. Accusing the ECP of supporting Hamza, he said: “The election commission also tried to defeat us by helping PML-N during the by-polls.” Terming his party’s win a “miracle”, he said that despite the government’s attempts, the PTI managed to win because of the people who came out to cast their votes. “A new history is being written,” he said. Khan demands the formation of the new election commission Sharing his solution to the problems of the country, he said that there was only one way to come out of the crisis. “A new election commission should be formed to conduct transparent elections,” he said, adding that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) could have stopped rigging as results are announced as soon as polling ends, and “it can stop 130 methods of rigging.” Khan acknowledged that the current situation was difficult and added that “the longer this coalition government stays in power, the more it will get difficult for the people [to survive].” Regarding yesterday’s Supreme Court verdict, he said all the “thieves” were criticizing the apex court as they consider themselves above law. “They think that law is for the common people only,” he maintained, adding that during the by-polls, the rangers and police shelled our people, “despite their conscience telling them that this was wrong, they feared losing their jobs and toed the line.” “In the last 26 years, they leveled all sorts of allegations on me and resorted to character assassination,” he lamented, emphasizing that the country needs to become self-sufficient. “It is better to die than be a slave as society suffers when thieves are in power,” he emphasized.