The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday directed Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda to submit a reply while hearing a petition seeking his disqualification for allegedly concealing his US nationality when filing his nomination forms during the 2018 general elections.
Justice Aamer Farooq presided over the proceedings.
On behalf of the petitioner Mian Mohammad Faisal, Advocate Jehangir Jadoon contended that the federal minister had submitted a false affidavit when filing his nomination papers to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
When asked by the court what the last date for filing the nomination papers was, the lawyer informed the court that June 11, 2018 was the last date, before presenting the affidavit submitted by Vawda.
"The minister was a dual national when he submitted his nomination papers. According to the Supreme Court's decision, Vawda was supposed to relinquish his US nationality before filing the nomination papers," the lawyer said.
"He is the federal minister for water resources and is overseeing major projects. He should be stopped from working," the lawyer added.
After hearing the arguments, the court directed Vawda to submit a reply by February 24.
According to the petition, 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 when he filed his nomination papers and concealed his US nationality by taking a false oath before the ECP claiming “he didn’t have any foreign nationality”, the petition added.
It was only after Vawda's papers were approved did he apply to renunciate his American nationality at the US Consulate, Karachi, on June 22, the petition said, adding that the US Consulate issued the renunciation certificate to Vawda on June 25.
The petition also stated that Vawda had submitted an affidavit on June 11, 2018 claiming that he was not a dual national even though his foreign nationality was intact at the time.
“It is held in the judgement [of the 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 pointed out.
It added that the SC had 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.