ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has constituted a division bench to hear the intra-court appeal of Senator Faisal Vawda seeking to stop the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from proceeding against him in the disqualification case.
A division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb will hear the appeal of the ruling party’s senator on Monday (tomorrow).
Senator Vawda challenged the October 12 decision by which the ECP had rejected his plea for halting proceedings against him in the disqualification case.
In the intra-court appeal, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf senator contended that the case against him in the ECP had become invalid, as the body had failed to take a decision within the prescribed time limit. He further said the single-member IHC bench comprising the chief justice did not consider the facts described in his plea for similar relief.
PTI senator argues ECP failed to take decision within prescribed time
While dismissing his petition on Nov 12, Chief Justice Athar Minallah noted that an application had been filed against Mr Vawda within 60 days and called upon the senator to prove his innocence and let the ECP take action in accordance with the law if he was clear.
In an application filed before the ECP in 2020, petitioner Dost Ali sought Mr Vawda’s disqualification for hiding information related to his dual nationality. The applicant challenged his election as a member of the National Assembly on the ground that he allegedly also held American nationality when he filed his nomination papers for contesting the elections.
The petition stated that since Mr Vawda had furnished an affidavit to the ECP to the effect that he was not a national of any other country at the time of contesting the elections, he had made a ‘false statement on oath’, hence he was disqualified under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution.
The ECP earlier this week gave last chance to Senator Vawda to explain the concealment of his foreign nationality.
A three-member ECP bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, while hearing the petition seeking disqualification of the ruling party senator for not disclosing his foreign nationality gave Mr Vawda last chance and adjourned hearing till Dec 23.
The CEC gave Senator Vawda the option to either submit his arguments to the commission in writing, in which case the bench would reserve its ruling or present the arguments himself so that the bench could issue a verdict.
The PTI senator contended that he had possessed dual citizenship since birth. At this, the CEC pointed out the issue was whether he possessed dual citizenship at the time of filing his nomination papers for contesting the 2018 elections.
Mr Vawda said he had already surrendered his American passport, but in the same breath feigned ignorance about the law regarding renunciation of the nationality of any country. He maintained he was unaware of the requirement to submit a renunciation certificate as well, saying he would try to obtain one.
Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2021