The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a plea seeking to call off the elections on the upper house seat vacated after the de-notification of PTI leader Faisal Vawda’s election as a Senator.
“The result of the Senate election due on March 9 will be subject to the judicial orders,” the SC ruled.
While disposing of the plea, the apex court remarked that an explanation on whether the Election Commission of Pakistan can hand disqualification for life to elected representatives or not is necessary.
“It is important to decide the extent to which the ECP can exercise judicial powers,” the SC said.
The court declared Vawda’s disqualification by the ECP a case first of its kind and said that it is to be looked into if the commission had enough authority.
It may be recalled that the ECP had disqualified Vawda as a lawmaker in a dual nationality case last month, and announced taking the notification for Vawda’s election as a Senator back.
It directed the PTI leader to turn in all the financial benefits and privileges he had been enjoying as a senator within two months.
However, the ECP gave Vawda the choice to still reach out to the Supreme Court to challenge the verdict for his disqualification.
Vawda had won the 2018 general election from Karachi’s NA-249 constituency.
In January 2020, an investigative report published in The News had revealed that Vawda may have committed perjury by falsely declaring in an oath to the ECP that he did not hold any, foreign nationality.
According to The News, Vawda was in possession of a United States passport at the time he filed his nomination papers on June 11, 2018. The minister remained an American national even at the time the scrutiny of his nomination papers were completed.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan in a past judgement has categorically ruled that candidates who hold dual nationality are supposed to submit a renunciation certificate of the foreign nationality along with their nomination papers.
The same judgement has previously led to the disqualification of various lawmakers, notable among whom are Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Saadia Abbasi and Haroon Akhtar.
Therefore, PPP MNA Qadir Khan Mandokhail, Asif Mehmood and Mian Faisal, had sought Vawda’s disqualification maintaining that he had concealed his US nationality while submitting his nomination papers to the returning officer for the National Assembly seat, and refrained from stating the date of his renunciation of the US nationality despite being asked by the ECP several times.
During the trial, Vawda received multiple extensions and was warned multiple times to submit his arguments to counter the prosecution’s stance.