ISLAMABAD: A petition filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday sought disqualification of federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda for allegedly concealing his US nationality at the time of filing his nomination papers to contest the last general elections.
The court will take up the petition, filed by lawyer Mian Faisal, on Wednesday (today).
The petition states that Mr Vawda contested the elections from NA-249 (West-II) Karachi in July 2018 on a ticket of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI). However, he was a dual national at the time of filing of his nomination papers, concealing his American nationality by falsely declaring on oath before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that “he didn’t have any foreign nationality”.
The petition, while citing documents of Mr Vawda rescinding US nationality, pointed out that the minister was a US citizen at the time of submitting his nomination papers on June 11, 2018, and even during the scrutiny of his nomination papers. The returning officer of his electoral constituency approved his papers on June 18.
“It was only after this approval that respondent No 1 [Vawda] applied for renunciation of his US nationality at the US Consulate, Karachi, on June 22,” the petition said, adding that the US Consulate issued the renunciation certificate to Mr Vawda on June 25.
Moreover, the petition states that Mr Vawda had on June 11, 2018 also submitted an affidavit claiming that he was not a dual national whereas till that time, his foreign nationality was intact.
“It is held in the judgement [of Supreme Court] that if anybody files a false affidavit, it will be considered he is filing the affidavit before the Supreme Court of Pakistan,” the petition points out.
It goes on to say that the Supreme Court has in one of its judgements categorically directed that candidates who previously held dual nationalities should have renunciation certificates at the time of filing of nomination papers.
Several legislators have been disqualified by the apex court on this account, including those belonging to major political parties, even though some of them had applied for renunciation of their foreign citizenship much earlier. They were unable to obtain the certificate at the time of filing of their nomination papers because of the long, drawn-out process of renunciation of foreign citizenship, says the petition.
Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2020