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ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has tendered a written apology to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the contempt case and requested the electoral body to dispose of the case against him while Railways Minister Azam Swati has not apologised yet to the commission in the same case.

The information minister’s legal representatives have submitted the written apology to the ECP Secretariat on behalf of him, it is learnt.

Corresponding to this move, the electoral body may take a lenient view in the information minister’s case and accept his apology, an ECP official said.

“Charges have not been framed against the minister and he has tendered an unconditional apology in writing. In such cases, a lenient view is usually taken and the accused is given a second chance,” the official told Business Recorder.

However, in case of Swati, apology has not yet arrived.

In case the railways minister apologises after being indicted, then it would be difficult for the ECP to accept his apology, it is further learnt.

Last Tuesday, the information minister appeared before ECP and tendered a verbal apology in the contempt case while electoral body took strong exception to the absence of railways minister in the same case and warned to frame charges against him should he fail to appear in the next hearing on December 3.

During the case hearing, a two-member ECP bench comprising of Nisar Ahmed Durrani and Shah Muhammad Jatoi directed the information minister to tender written apology, saying the commission would pass an “appropriate order” on the matter.

The case was adjourned till December 3.

Earlier on November 11, the ECP bench announced to frame charges against the railways minister in November 16 hearing while directing the minister to submit a reply to the show cause notice by the given date.

On October 21, the ECP issued its first show cause notice to Swati and summoned him in person after neither the minister nor his designated counsel showed up at the ECP’s scheduled hearing of the case related to the minister’s strong criticism of the electoral body in September.

On October 26, Swati had appeared in the ECP in connection with the contempt case hearing. But, the next day, on October 27, the ECP issued a show cause notice to the information minister and second show cause notice to railways minister in the contempt case after Swati did not appear in October 27 hearing.

On September 10, the Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs had a tumultuous session with the treasury members having categorically expressed their displeasure with the ECP for repeatedly opposing the federal government’s efforts to launch electronic voting machines (EVMs).

“This ECP is good for nothing. It always rigged polls. It took bribes for that purpose-such institutions should be set on fire,” Swati had said in a hard-hitting diatribe against the ECP. Later in the day, Chaudhry, the information minister, accused Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja of acting as a “mouthpiece for the opposition.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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