ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan’s “fresh” version to justify holding by-polls prior to its reconstitution after the passage of the 18th Amendment seems being filled with visible contradictions, factual inaccuracies and misrepresentation of facts.Over 1,500 words statement the Commission issued on Thursday to reason its presumed achievements and justify some unjustifiable acts the electoral body has undergone so very often, made another addition to ECP’s loudmouthed statements and repeated rhetoric coated with a ridiculous sense of audacity and disregard to esteemed judicial organs like Supreme Court of Pakistan.The electoral body said its statement was: “In response to a news item that appeared in print and electronic media about holding of by-elections by the Chief Election Commissioner as unconstitutional.” A bit of reality check suggests that print and electronic media carried the statement of Leader of Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan who categorically criticised the CEC Justice (r) Hamid Ali Mirza for conducting by-polls at the time when ECP was not reconstituted. Down the drain, the ECP’s naivety gets a further push when it issues “clarifications” to media but does not contradict Ch Nisar Al Khan’s statement. Citing a host of electoral laws, the ECP refers to Article 268 that says, “1) Except as provided by this article, all existing laws shall, subject to the constitution, continue in force, so far as applicable and with the necessary adaptations, until altered, repealed or amended by the appropriate legislature.“Any court, tribunal or authority required or empowered to enforce an existing law shall, notwithstanding that no adaptation have been made in such law by an order made under clause (3) or clause (4), construe the law with all such adaptations as are necessary to bring it into accord with the provisions of the constitution.”Last year, the Election Commission officially admitted on several occasions that CEC conducted by-polls because the ECP had confronted an anomaly, as on one hand, the constitution provided for conduct of by-polls in 60 days on vacant parliamentary seats while on the other hand, the constitution, the ECP had said then, lacked provisions to deal with any situation emerging out of the passage of a parliamentary amendment and in the absence of laws. As the ECP, after the passage of 18t amendment, had ceased to exist followed by the absence of clear laws to handle the situation, it was the foremost responsibility of ECP to take guidance from the Apex Court which is fully mandated to interpret laws in the light of constitution. The ECP never bothered consulting SC on this issue and it was only when Imran Khan moved the Apex Court against 38 million bogus and unverified voter lists did the Court have to intervene. In addition, the aforesaid article 268 and constitutional provisions on by-polls, the ECP cited in its defence, partly entail reconstitution of ECP. These provisions are silent on any given situation that causes the ECP to cease to exist due to a parliamentary amendment. The question: How ECP or CEC could interpret laws when they ceased to exist in a given situation?“The Supreme Court of Pakistan asked this Commission to find out a proper solution, the ECP issued notices to the elected representatives, conducted proper hearings and passed a detailed order upholding these by-elections but the Supreme Court did not accept this,” says the ECP’s Thursday “clarification.” Again, the misrepresentation of facts is stark. The ECP did not mention why the Apex Court did not accept ECP’s stance. In the absence of laws, the powers were designated from CEC to ECP and the former stood in no authority to proceed as per his discretions and interpret law that is solely courts’ mandate. Making advancements, the Election Commission says, “As the ECP remained incomplete soon after promulgation of Eighteen Amendment to the Constitution i-e 21st April 2010 till June 2011 and in the meanwhile 28 vacancies occurred in the Parliament and Provincial Assemblies, therefore, it was also unconstitutional not to fill these vacancies and deprive the people of these constituencies from representation in the aforementioned bodies.”It needs to be put forth here that by-polls were generally held in transparent and fair environment and did not invite criticism from any quarter. This, however, does not mean that the procedure the CEC Justice (r) Hamid Ali Mirza followed without taking the SC into loop is to be commended. To much of its dismay, the ECP may have a hard time digesting the very fact that Jasmhed Dasti from the ruling Pakistan People’s Party and Awais Leghari former Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam) leader have not spared a word slamming the ECP for its negligence and disregard shown vis-à-vis by-polls, electoral rolls and SC instructions. Both Dasti and Leghari are among the victorious candidates in the by-polls held prior to ECP reconstitution. Funnily, the Election Commission then rises up to pick a comparison between electoral process in Pakistan and that of India and quotes Indian Supreme Court “in one of the similar situations” as saying, “In such situations, the Chief Election Commissioner has not to fold his hands and pray to God for divine inspiration to enable him to exercise his functions and to perform his duties or to look to any external authority for the grant of powers to deal with the matter.” In India, however, the credibility of Election Commission is not even half as dubious and tarnished as ECP’s, which is why the Indian courts entrust their electoral body with full responsibility.“Thus intellectual honesty demands that the issue should be looked at in its correct constitutional perspective and any invalid grounds or unfounded motives should not be attributed to any authority for holding the by-elections,” another “emotional” statement from the electoral body says. The intellectual honesty also demands from the ECP officials to fulfil their commitments and not to backtrack from the deadlines they have given a number of times regarding preparation of electoral rolls and tall claims they made to purge electoral process from foul play. And refrain from striking backdoor deals to get unlawful extensions after retirements.