PTI leader and former federal minister Faisal Vawda has challenged his lifetime disqualification and the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) order to maintain it, in the Supreme Court, seeking his restoration to the Senator’s seat.
Vawda, who was recently declared ineligible as a lawmaker for life by the ECP, had challenged the commission’s verdict in the IHC, seeking revocation of his lifetime disqualification. However, the high court dismissed his plea.
The PTI leader has nominated ECP and the complainants who had challenged his election as a lawmaker as respondents in his apex court petition, maintaining that he didn’t hide any details from the election commission.
“The ECP exceeded its authority […] ECP lacked jurisdiction to invoke Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution to disqualify me for life since it was not a court of law,” he argued in the petition, adding that he got US citizenship by birth.
Stating that the IHC hastily dismissed the plea for the revocation of his disqualification, Vawda sought his restoration on the Senator’s seat through nullification of ECP and IHC’s decisions.
IHC dismisses Faisal Vawda’s pleaThe IHC on Thursday dismissed former federal minister Faisal Vawda’s plea seeking the revocation of his lifetime disqualification.
“…the Court has not been able to persuade itself that the impugned order, dated 09-02-2022, suffers from any legal infirmity requiring interference. The petition is, therefore, accordingly dismissed,” IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah — who heard the case — said in the judgement.
Justice Minallah said the date for being qualified to be a member of the Parliament was the date when the nomination papers were filed.
“…the process of relinquishment of the foreign nationality should have been completed and concluded before submission of the nomination papers,” the judge noted.
The IHC noted that it is, indeed, a settled law that when a citizen of Pakistan has acquired the citizenship of a foreign state, the latter shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen or being a member of the Parliament until and unless such legal status — being a citizen of a foreign state — was obliterated or extinguished.
The judge said the petitioner had contested from NA 249, Karachi, in the general elections held in 2018. His notification as a member of the National Assembly was challenged before various forums, including the IHC.
In the petitions against Vawda, it was alleged that he had filed a false affidavit to get elected as an MNA.
However, “for reasons best known to him”, the former federal minister’s conduct before the IHC remained “evasive” and he kept delaying the proceedings on one pretext or the other.
“It appears from the record that instead of establishing his bonafides by producing a certificate of renunciation of citizenship, proceedings were delayed by the petitioner before the Commission,” the IHC said.
Justice Minallah noted it was not “pleasant” for the court to disqualify an elected member of the Parliament. “…the courts claim no supremacy over organs that represent the people of Pakistan.
“The petitioner’s conduct has led to disqualification of an elected representative and, regrettably, he alone is responsible for the consequences,” it added.
What is the case?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 Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senators 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 sought received multiple extensions and received as many warnings for the submission of his arguments to counter the prosecution’s stance.