Will Senator Faisal Vawda be disqualified?

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Federal Minister Faisal Vawda on Monday approached the Sindh High Court to challenge the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) regarding his disqualification, local media reported.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has filed three petitions seeking the disqualification of Faisal Vawda, who is a former member of the National Assembly as well as a recently-elected Senator.

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Faisal Vawda has filed a constitutional petition in the Sindh High Court to stop the decision of the ECP in relation to his disqualification. He has resigned as a member of the National Assembly.

The petition states that the Election Commission does not have the authority to hear complaints against him, adding that it should be ruled that such actions are not within the jurisdiction of the commission.

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The court has accepted Vawda’s petition and a hearing related to that will be held on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

Petitioners against Vawda contend that he had dual citizenship when he filed his nomination papers in the 2018 general elections, a fact that he had concealed at the time. Therefore, he should be disqualified.

Faisal Vawda submitted a false affidavit: IHC

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A few days ago, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had issued its detailed order in the disqualification case of Vawda. Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC had on March 3 disposed of the petition challenging Vawda’s election after the minister submitted his resignation from the National Assembly.

The IHC, in its detailed order, stated that, prima facie, the affidavit submitted by the PTI leader regarding his dual nationality at the time of his election to the National Assembly is “false”.

“Since the affidavits were tendered before the Election Commission of Pakistan, it is just and proper that the Election Commission of Pakistan probes into the matter of veracity of affidavit furnished by Faisal Vawda on 11.06.2018 and if same is found to be false to stipulate the effect thereof pursuant to observations made in PLD 2020 SC 591,” the order said.

The judgement noted that since the lawmaker has resigned as Member National Assembly, no writ of quo-warranto can be issued with respect to holding dual nationality. “However, the matter of furnishing false affidavit is to be probed by the Election Commission of Pakistan […] and the Commission may pass appropriate orders with respect to the same,” it added.

Read More: Dual Nationality case: Faisal Vawda’s Senate nomination challenged

The court also observed with “dismay that respondent No.1 lingered on the matter by not filing reply under one pretext or the other which delayed the adjudication of the matter”.

Background of the case

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 Army Act Amendment Bill while disparaging the ruling party, PTI as the stooge of Establishment all this while.

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.

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

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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