Thursday, October 06, 2022

Faisal Vawda renounced US citizenship after submitting nomination papers: CJP Bandial

“It is not easy to disqualify someone for life," says CJP while hearing Faisal Vawda's petition

Former federal minister Faisal Vawda. -APP/file
Former federal minister Faisal Vawda. -APP/file
  • Supreme Court hears Faisal Vawda's appeal.
  • CJP says only court can give declaration under Article 62(1)(f).
  • Vawda submitted nomination papers before renouncing US nationality.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial Thursday remarked that PTI leader and former federal minister Faisal Vawda renounced his US nationality after submitting the nomination papers for the 2018 election.

The chief justice made these remarks during a hearing of a petition filed by Faisal Vawda against his lifetime disqualification by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) over filing false nomination papers.

The PTI leader had approached the Supreme Court against the ECP, stating that the electoral body is not a court of law and cannot disqualify him for life.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court comprising CJP Bandial, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Aisha Malik heard the case.

The CJP said that a declaration under Article 62(1)(f) can be given by a court and no one can be called “dishonest” without examining the evidence.

“It is not easy to disqualify someone for life. Court declaration means to record evidence,” the CJP said, adding the apex court had set standards for the implementation of Article 62(1)(f) in its previous judgments.

At this, Vawda’s counsel Wasim Sajjad said that Article 63 is attached in case of dual nationality and the lawmaker can only be de-seated not disqualified for life.

Earlier, Wasim Sajjad argued before the court that neither did his client hide any facts nor was he "dishonest". 

At this, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah asked when did Vawda submit his nomination papers.

The counsel said that he submitted nomination papers on June 7, 2018, while the scrutiny was conducted on the 18th of the same month.

“When did Faisal Vawda submit the affidavit?” asked Justice Mansoor. On June 11, replied the counsel.

He added that the returning officer was informed that Vawda had renounced US citizenship.

“On which date did you go to the American Embassy and cancel your nationality?” asked Justice Aisha Malik.

Vawda’s counsel, without giving the date, said that his client went to the US Embassy and said that he was renouncing his nationality.

“Did you go to the embassy and verbally tell them to cancel your passport?” Justice Mansoor Ali Shah asked.

To which, the counsel said, his client was not supposed to give proof of renouncing citizenship.

At this, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said, “you did not bother to conclude this issue before submitting the affidavit on June 11,”

“NADRA issued the certificate of renunciation US citizenship on May 29, 2018,” Wasim Sajjad said.

“When you did not go to the embassy then how did NADRA issue the certificate?” asked Justice Ayesha Malik, and said that at the time of submitting the affidavit, Faisal Vawda's US citizenship was not cancelled.

The real question is the declaration of lifetime disqualification, which cannot be given by the ECP, Wasim Sajjad said.

Later, the court adjourned the hearing till Wednesday (October 16).