Faisal Vawda to face ECP as intra-court plea dismissed

Published December 10, 2021
Senator Faisal Vawda addresses a press conference in Islamabad in this file photo. — Radio Pakistan
Senator Faisal Vawda addresses a press conference in Islamabad in this file photo. — Radio Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday dismissed the appeal of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Senator Faisal Vawda and directed him to appear before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in connection with his dual nationality issue.

An IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb dismissed the intra-court appeal filed against the ECP’s ongoing proceedings on an application seeking disqualification of Vawda for concealing his US nationality at the time of filing of his nomination papers to contest the National Assembly’s election.

Vawda quit the National Assembly to contest the Senate elections.

Hasnain Ali Chohan, Vawda’s counsel, argued that he had challenged an order of the ECP before the IHC’s single-member bench. However, he said, the single-judge bench even added such information to the verdict which was not relevant to the case.

PTI senator is battling a tough situation over dual nationality

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Nov 12 disposed of Vawda’s petition with a direction to the ECP to conclude the proceedings on the application to ascertain as to whether the lawmaker was a dual national at the time of filing of nomination papers for National Assembly.

Justice Minallah observed that in case the ECP found anomalies in Vawda’s declaration, he might be proceeded against for contempt of court since the five-member bench of the Supreme Court had declared that filing a fake affidavit before the returning officer would be contemptuous and besides disqualification it would entail penal consequences.

Justice Farooq perused the said order. He observed that the single-member bench only referred the Supreme Court’s judgement which had introduced conditions for filing of nomination papers.

The counsel was of the view that Vawda could only be proceeded against had the applicant approached the Election Tribunal within specified timeframe.

According to him, after the lapse of the deadline, the ECP could not entertain the application.

Moreover, the counsel objected to Justice Minallah’s verdict and termed the observations illegal that linked Vawda’s case with the verdict of the Supreme Court. Justice Farooq reminded the counsel that his client should not need to be worried if he had tendered accurate information in the affidavit.

Justice Aurangzeb remarked that the court may ask the ECP to conclude the proceedings within a month and advised Vawda to face the inquiry before the ECP.

A contestant against Vawda for the Senate seat, Dost Ali, had filed an application in the ECP against Vawda, seeking his disqualification for hiding information pertaining to his dual nationality.

The petition was filed in 2020 challenging his election as a member of the National Assembly. The petition stated that when Vawda filed his nomination papers for contesting elections, he held dual nationality as he was a US citizen as well.

The petition stated that since Vawda had furnished an affidavit to the ECP declaring at the time of contesting elections that he was not a national of any other country, he had made a false statement on oath, hence he was disqualified under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2021

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