Railways Minister Azam Swati Friday apologized to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for his statements against the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and the electoral watchdog. However, the minister did not attend the hearing in person. The hearing was held by a three-member bench of the ECP. The Commission asked Swati’s lawyer where he was, to which Barrister Ali Zafarstated that the minister was not there and that he was present in his stead. In the Commission, a member of the Senate asked if the minister was ignoring the ECP, as he was absent during the last hearing because he was in the Senate. Barrister Ali maintained that Swati had appeared before the Election Commission twice and had also submitted his apology.The lawyer read out a written apology from the minister before the Commission. In his written apology, the railways minister said he always tried to make the Election Commission stronger and apologized if he had offended anyone. “I never tried to scandalize the Election Commission. I am a federal minister, and have always worked towards strengthening institutions,” it reads. “The Election Commission is doing its job honestly, and all institutions should come to respect each other,” he further stated. The Commission exempted the minister for his absence for the day. Later, the ECP summoned Swati in person on December 22. The ECP further preserved the decision on Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry’s written apology, remarking that it would issue an appropriate order on the apology. Last month, Swati along with Fawad Chaudhry had launched a tirade against the ECP. During a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs held to discuss proposed amendments to the Elections (Amendment) Act, 2021, Swati had accused the Commission of “always” rigging polls and said such institutions should be “set on fire”. The minister had come down hard on the ECP and alleged that the ECP took bribes to rig polls.