ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda is in hot water as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday submitted his affidavit in the Islamabad High Court in which he has given an undertaking that he never acquired the citizenship of any foreign state.
ECP’s senior counsel Sanaullah Zahid submitted the affidavit to Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC during the hearing of a petition seeking Mr Vawda’s disqualification for allegedly concealing his US nationality at the time of filing of his nomination papers to contest the general elections in 2018.
The court noted that the affidavit of June 11, 2018 was inconsistent with the fact that Mr Vawda had given up his US citizenship on June 25 the same year.
Mr Vawda’s lawyer requested the court to adjourn the hearing as he was not prepared to argue. He said that since as many as four applications related to disqualification of the minister were pending with the ECP, the commission might be restrained from proceeding in this matter.
Advocate Jahangir Jadoon, the counsel for the petitioner, informed the court that the federal minister sought adjournment from the ECP on the grounds that the case was pending before the IHC and here they were seeking an altogether different relief.
Justice Farooq warned the counsel for Mr Vawda not to play “hide and seek” with the court.
The counsel sought time to consult his client and get instructions from him.
The judge said Faisal Vawda in his affidavit stated that he had neither ceased to be a citizen of Pakistan nor acquired or applied for the citizenship of any foreign state.
The court adjourned the hearing till Nov 12.
The petition seeking disqualification of Mr Vawda was filed in the IHC in January this year. Despite issuance of several notices, he never responded to the petition.
According to the petition, Mr Vawda concealed his dual nationality at the time of filing of his nomination papers and falsely declared on oath before the ECP that “he didn’t have any foreign nationality”.
It said the PTI leader submitted his nomination papers on the last date which were cleared on June 18, 2018, adding that Mr Vawda applied for renunciation of his nationality in the US Consulate, Karachi, on June 22 and the latter issued him the certificate on June 25.
The petition, while citing relevant judgements of the superior courts, argued that since Mr Vawda was a dual national at the time of filing of his nomination papers, he concealed his US nationality and submitted a false affidavit regarding his citizenship and, therefore, he may be disqualified from holding the National Assembly’s seat and the office of the federal minister.
The petition said the court may declare Mr Vawda not sagacious and honest and disqualify him under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution for filing a false affidavit. It also requested the court to order the ECP to hold re-election in the constituency of NA-249, Karachi, and direct Mr Vawda to “refund the sums received in terms of salary/remuneration, accommodation allowances and other perks and privileges”.
The petitioner also pleaded that Mr Vawda “be restrained from performing official functions as federal minister” till the adjudication of the matter.
Published in Dawn, November 5th, 2020