Tuesday Feb 09, 2021
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan on Tuesday imposed a fine of Rs50,000 on Federal Minister Faisal Vawda on seeking adjournments again and again in the disqualification case, directing him to appear in-person on the next hearing.
The ECP was hearing the petition seeking the federal minister's disqualification due to his dual nationality.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, who was presiding over the proceedings, said the case has already been delayed and reprimanded the counsel representing Vawda.
When the hearing resumed today, assistant counsel Hasnain Ali Chohan sought an adjournment due to Vawda’s lawyer, Muhammad bin Mohsin’s, engagement in a Lahore court.
Member ECP Irshad Qaiser asked him, "In which capacity have you appeared, you don't even have the power of attorney".
Another ECP member Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi said that the lawyer has not attached any evidence in this regard and the minister's attorney should have managed his time with the court.
On this, petitioner Qadir Mandokhel responded to Hasnain Ali Chohan and said, "You are the minister's coordinator in Karachi".
CEC Sultan Raja said the minister was supposed to respond to questions regarding his dual nationality in the hearing today.
"If the defendant failed to respond on the next haring, the ECP will itself approach the US Consulate for details," the CEC said and adjourned the hearing till February 24.
On the previous hearing, the CEC had said that no matter how influential someone was, they will decide the cases on merit.
The petitioner’s counsel had said if Faisal Vawda was a big man and he could not be asked questions, the returning officer should be asked to explain why he accepted the nomination papers despite possessing dual citizenship.
To this, the CEC remarked that no matter how big someone was, it had no effect on the Election Commission, the commission would decide on merit, no one would be affected. He added that Vawda had written N/A in the dual citizenship box while submitting nomination papers.
He then inquired whether Faisal Vawda did not have dual citizenship at that time. Vawda’s lawyer said that Faisal Vawda did not have dual citizenship at that time, to which the Chief Election Commissioner asked whether he had dual citizenship before. On what date he renounced dual citizenship.
The lawyer replied that he would have to take guidance in this regard. To this, Member of Election Commission Altaf Ibrahim had expressed his anger and said that it was a delaying tactic that “you will tell with guidance”.
Lawyer Muhammad bin Mohsin also said that Faisal Wawda had dual citizenship and there was no dispute over it. The Chief Election Commissioner said that he had admitted that Vawda had dual citizenship and asked when Faisal Vawda gave up his dual citizenship.