Wednesday, February 09, 2022
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has finally announced the verdict in PTI leader Faisal Vawda's dual nationality case, disqualifying him as a lawmaker.
ECP had reserved the verdict on PPP MNA Qadir Khan Mandokhail's plea seeking Vawda's disqualification on December 23, 2021.
In today's hearing, a three-member bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, announced taking the notification for Vawda's election as a Senator back.
The bench gave the observation that Vawda resigned from the National Assembly seat to cover his crime.
It directed the PTI leader to turn in all the financial benefits and privileges he had been enjoying as a Senator within two months.
However, the ECP stated that Vawda can still reach out to the Supreme Court to challenge the verdict for his disqualification.
It is pertinent to mention that Vawda had resigned as an MNA in March 2021, on the day of the Senate election, but he will no longer be a Senator after the conclusion of his disqualification case.
The petitioners, PPP MNA Qadir Khan Mandokhail, Asif Mehmood and Mian Faisal, had contended that Vawda had concealed his US nationality while submitting his nomination papers to the returning officer for the National Assembly seat, and refrained from stating the date of his renunciation of the US nationality despite being asked by the ECP several times.
During the trial, Vawda received multiple warnings and extensions for the submission of his arguments to counter the prosecution's stance.
Vawda had won the 2018 general election from Karachi's NA-249 constituency.
In January 2020, an investigative report published in The News had revealed that Vawda may have committed perjury by falsely declaring in an oath to the ECP that he did not hold any, foreign nationality.
According to The News, Vawda was in possession of a United States passport at the time he filed his nomination papers on June 11, 2018. The minister remained an American national even at the time the scrutiny of his nomination papers were completed.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan in a past judgement has categorically ruled that candidates who hold dual nationality are supposed to submit a renunciation certificate of the foreign nationality along with their nomination papers.
The same judgement has previously led to the disqualification of various lawmakers, notable among whom Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senators Saadia Abbasi and Haroon Akhtar.