Vawda’s reprieve

Published November 27, 2022

FAISAL Vawda should be relieved. After years of running from a reckoning for submitting a false declaration in his nomination papers ahead of the 2018 general elections, he has avoided permanent disbarment from politics thanks to the Supreme Court’s largesse. It may be recalled that Mr Vawda had been a US citizen when he applied to become a Pakistani lawmaker, and it was not until his nomination papers were accepted that his US citizenship was formally revoked. Pakistani lawmakers are not allowed to hold any other nationality if they wish to be considered eligible to participate in elections, and two others — Haroon Akhtar and Saadia Abbasi — had been disqualified for the same reasons back in 2018. It, therefore, came as no surprise when, earlier this year, the ECP took a dim view of Mr Vawda’s ‘misrepresented’ credentials, de-seated him, and disqualified him for life under Article 62(1)(f) for not being ‘sadiq’ and ‘ameen’. However, the apex court on Friday revoked Mr Vawda’s lifetime disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) after having him tender an apology for ‘misstating’ his nationality and resigning from his Senate seat. He is quite lucky to have convinced the judges, considering how much time he spent avoiding the courts since the disqualification reference was first brought against him in 2020. However recently, the Supreme Court made it clear that it did not consider the ECP qualified to make a judgement under Article 62(1)(f) as it is not a court of law. On separate occasions, the chief justice also described Article 62(1)(f) as ‘draconian’. It is, at the moment, unclear whether the Supreme Court is in the process of a broader reconsideration of the application of Article 62(1)(f) or whether Mr Vawda’s case is to be considered a stand-alone matter.

Mr Vawda has avoided court proceedings under Article 62(1)(f) only because he was given a chance to apologise; otherwise, the evidence stacked against him seemed quite damning. However, other politicians who have been disqualified under 62(1)(f) were not as lucky. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif recently complained about five years of his life being ‘wasted’ because the apex court had disqualified him under the same article and later deemed his disqualification for life even though the Constitution itself carried no such provision. To dispel the impression of arbitrariness, the Supreme Court must elaborate on whether it is taking a new position and provide some clarity on the matter.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Mianwali raid
Updated 02 Feb, 2023

Mianwali raid

The military needs to share intelligence with civilian agencies to neutralise the militant menace nationwide.
Corruption unlimited
02 Feb, 2023

Corruption unlimited

PAKISTAN’S consistent slide on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index over the last several...
Women police officers
02 Feb, 2023

Women police officers

IN a heartening development, a second female police officer has been appointed as DPO in Attock, weeks after the...
Road to perdition
Updated 01 Feb, 2023

Road to perdition

This is also the time of reckoning for those who sowed the seeds of a disastrous policy against militants.
Transport tragedies
01 Feb, 2023

Transport tragedies

TWO tragedies over the weekend illustrate the weak protocols governing the safety of transport in Pakistan. In fact,...
Disqualifying Jam Awais
01 Feb, 2023

Disqualifying Jam Awais

IT appears that there may be some kind of small punishment after all for PPP lawmaker Jam Awais, who was pardoned ...