PTI Secretary General Asad Umar Friday warned that the country might slip into a ‘difficult situation’ if the public perceived that the Election Commission 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 July 17 by-elections. The PTI has alleged that efforts are on to change the results of the upcoming by-polls. It also blamed that the government was changing the voter lists and misusing the state machinery to get the PTI’s dissident members elected. Asad asked the party workers to roll up their sleeves for the upcoming elections. “Whatever they do, the PTI will win by a big majority on July 17. Once Punjab goes out of their hands, what will the imported prime minister do in Islamabad? We are heading towards new elections,” he continued, says a news report. He also criticised the Election Commission of Pakistan and suggested that it better allot itself an election symbol for ‘behaving like a political party’. Asad claimed that it was clear that PTI was “leading prominently” in all constituencies. “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 terrorized”. Asad 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. “The most dangerous thing is illegally registered votes. We have filed a petition. Individual petitions have already been filed but the ECP has not taken any action.” He further said 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”. The ECP statement said no change could be made to voter list once the election schedule was announced. “The ECP is resolved to conduct transparent and peaceful election on the 20 seats of the Punjab Assembly,” the electoral watchdog added. 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 asked. “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,” Umar said. He also reiterated the party’s claims that their supporters were receiving calls from “unknown numbers”. He alleged that the housewives who supported the party were now receiving phone calls from “unknown numbers” warning them to stop posting on the 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 that such tactics are used, the more passionate people will become, he added.