Times of Middle East

Court cannot disqualify Faisal Vawda, IHC

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruled on Wednesday that it could not disqualify Water Resources Minister Faisal Vawda as the PTI leader had already resigned from his National Assembly seat earlier.

In its ruling in the disqualification case against Faisal Vawda for holding dual nationality, the Islamabad court remarked that the minister’s affidavit that was submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was “apparently false”.

“There are consequences of submitting a false affidavit according to the order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan,” the IHC remarked, adding that the ECP should decide what to do about the PTI leader’s allegedly false affidavit.

The ruling came as part of IHC Justice Amir Farooq’s 13-page written verdict.

Earlier, Faisal Vawda — who was the second MNA to cast his vote in the Senate elections being held today — had informed the IHC that he has resigned from the National Assembly, with his stance submitted to the court soon after he polled his vote in the lower house of the Parliament.

The PTI leader’s lawyer told the IHC the petition could no longer be maintained following the resignation, which he presented before the court. A verdict was subsequently reserved.

The high court bench had summoned the MNAs record from the election commission in previous hearing of the case.

The counsel had pleaded to the court that the Election Commission of Pakistan had not de-notified Faisal Vawda.

Barrister Jahangir Khan Jadoon, the counsel for petitioner Mian Muhammad Faisal, alleged that Faisal Vawda lied in the June 11, 2018 affidavit he submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) before the 2018 elections that he had given up his dual nationality.

He said the minister was an American national at that time but he fibbed in the affidavit, adding he held the US citizenship even when his nomination papers were being scrutinised.

The petitions seek Vawda’s removal from the public office under clause 62-1 (F) of the constitution.

It is worth noting that Faisal Vawda is accused of hiding his dual nationality while filing nomination papers back in 2018. According to a report, published by The News, Mr. Vawda was a US national when he submitted his documents in June, 2018.

According to the report, the last date to file nomination papers for the elections held in July 2018 was June 8 and later extended for another three days. Taking his documents and evidence, Vawda submitted election papers on the last date — June 11, 2018 —along with an affidavit wherein he declared himself holding no citizenship other than that of Pakistani. The Returning Officer (RO) of NA-249 Karachi, his electoral constituency, approved his nomination papers on June 18, 2018. It was only after this approval that Vawda applied for renunciation of his US nationality in US Consulate Karachi meaning thereby he was an American citizen at the time of filing.

Legal experts believe that whoever holds dual nationality at the time of submitting their nomination papers is set for instant disqualification. Moreover, the person concerned could be penalized for perjury as well.

PTI’s leader often remains in the spotlight for all wrong reasons. Recently, Mr. Vawda was in the news for flashing ‘military boot’ in a live TV show at opposition members of PPP and PML-N, ridiculing them for their unconditional support for the Army Act Amendment Bill while disparaging the ruling party, PTI as the stooge of Establishment all this while.

Read More: Faisal Vawda “Military Boot” stunt: Will PM Imran take notice?

Before that, he was schooled by his own party after his heroic entry at the site of a terror attack at the Chinese Embassy in Karachi. Faisal Vawda was spotted along with the Police wearing a bullet-resistant vest and a gun in hand.

PM Imran Khan also bashed and reprimanded Faisal Vawda, personally after he reached Line of Control and had himself photographed with the rubble of downed Indian fighter Jet. His stunt was not taken well in the party.

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