ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry Tuesday tendered an apology to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for his earlier remarks in which he had described the chief of the commission as a “mouthpiece of the Opposition.”
Speaking outside the ECP’s office in Islamabad, the minister stressed that he respected the country’s institutions. He had appeared before the commission in relation to his comments about the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) a few weeks earlier.
During today’s hearing, the minister told members of the commission that he is a lawyer himself and does “not want to get caught up in show-cause notices.”
“Lawyers do not start fights with the courts,” responded the ECP members. “You fight inside the court, not outside them.”
Chaudhry responded by saying that as the minister of information, whatever he says is the policy of the cabinet.
“I am the mouthpiece of the cabinet. At times, I say things but the words are not my own,” he added.
The minister said he “personally respects” the CEC, adding that he did not abuse anyone.
“I am sorry,” said the minister. “I apologise for my words.”
The members of the election commission directed Chaudhry to submit his apology in writing.
Briefing the media, he also spoke about the controversy stirred by a signed affidavit of the ex-chief justice of Gilgit-Baltistan, Rana Shamim, in which he levelled serious allegations against the former chief justice of Pakistan, Justice (retd) Saqib Nisar.
Shamim had stated in the affidavit that he was a witness to the then chief justice directing a high court judge to ensure Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz do not get bail before general elections 2018.
The information minister hit out at Shamim, alleging that he is staying in London at Nawaz Sharif’s expense. “Hussain Nawaz is dealing Rana Shamim,” he claimed. “Nawaz Sharif has even paid the fee of the affidavit that Rana Shamim submitted,” he added.
Chaudhry said that when individuals are used to malign the reputation of institutions, then a crisis ensues. “This is why I think the notice taken by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah is a reasonable decision,” he said.
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