ISLAMABAD: The Sup­reme Court will commence a regular hearing of PTI leader Mohammad Faisal Vawda’s appeal against his disqualification for life on Oct 4.

Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial, a three-judge bench took up the appeal on Thursday but then decided to commence regular hearing on a day-to-day basis on Oct 4.

Senior counsel Wasim Sajjad, who is representing Faisal Vawda, complained that hearing had been adjourned several times without any progress. The court assured him that there would be no further delay.

Mr Vawda has sought to set aside a declaration by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Feb 9 which led to his disqualification as senator for life. This further resulted in suspension of the already held Senate elections on March 9 on the seat which fell vacant after his disqualification.

The court had disregarded his request for staying the elections, saying it won’t intervene in the matter. The ECP finally notified Nisar Ahmed Khuhro of the PPP as winner of the election for the Senate general seat from Sindh. Mr Khuhro will serve as senator till March 2027.

In his appeal, Mr Vawda pleaded that the ECP had cited no reason for invoking Article 62(1f) of the Constitution to disqualify him for life. The commission appears to be under an impression that any person disqualified under Article 63(1c) — for having dual nationality — could automatically be penalised under Article 62(1f), he said.

In order to incur penalty under Article 62(1f), there must be mens rea (criminal intent) as well as evidence before a court of law, the petitioner said, but “both are missing in the ECP’s pronouncement”.

The ECP had disqualified Mr Vawda for life by invoking Article 62(1f), even though the Supreme court had held in Allah Dino Bhayo case last year that the commission was not a court of law, he said.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2022

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