Friday, November 25, 2022

'I apologise unconditionally': SC revokes Faisal Vawda's lifetime disqualification

Ex-PTI leader Vawda disqualified for one term under Article 63(1)(c) in dual nationality case

PTI leader Faisal Vawda addresses a presser at the National Press Club in Islamabad in this undated photo. — APP/File
PTI leader Faisal Vawda addresses a presser at the National Press Club in Islamabad in this undated photo. — APP/File

  • Ex-PTI leader Faisal Vawda disqualified for one term.
  • CJP disqualifies him under Article Article 63(1)(c).
  • Vawda accepts submitting fake affidavit.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan Friday revoked the lifetime ban that barred former PTI leader Faisal Vawda from contesting elections after he tendered an unconditional apology before the court.

A three-member apex court bench — headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Ayesha Malik — heard the plea against Vawda's lifelong disqualification ruling of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The election commission had on February 9 imposed a lifetime ban on Vawda as he had concealed his dual nationality at the time of contesting the National Assembly election in the 2018 general polls.

The chief justice had summoned Vawda to court today for giving him a chance to apologise and accept his mistake as he had been lying to the courts for three-long years.

As he appeared before the court today, the former federal minister told the court that he apologises unconditionally and would accept any punishment that is awarded to him.

Accepting his apology, the apex court ruled that Vawda was disqualified under Article 63(1)(c) and not Article 62(1)(f) — the same law that was used to impose a lifetime ban on former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from contesting elections. 

Following the ruling, the former federal minister can contest in the next general elections, but he will not be allowed to run in any polls that take place before it.

In his apology letter after the hearing, the ex-federal minister admitted that he was not eligible for running the elections — as he had submitted a fake affidavit. 

Today's hearing

When today's hearing began, the CJP asked Vawda to accept that under the law, he was ineligible to become a member of the National Assembly in 2018. "You submitted an application in June 2018 for revoking your US citizenship, but it was never accepted."

In case you accept your mistake, then you will only be disqualified for the current parliament's term.

Justice Shah asked what is the date on his citizenship revocation certificate and when did he resign from the assembly. In response, Vawda said the certificate is dated June 25, 2018, and he resigned from the Na on March 30, 2021.

"In any case, Faisal Vawda remained a member of the National Assembly for a period of three years. However, the court did not summon you here just to embarrass you," CJP said.

The chief justice told Vawda that he had been misleading everyone for the last three years. He asked the former lawmaker to apologise before the court and resign from the Senate seat.

"If you apologise before the court with good intentions, then your disqualification will be limited to five years. In case you do not resign, then the court will proceed under Article 62(1)(f)."

At this, the former PTI leader said that he apologises unconditionally and that he "did not" intend on submitting a false affidavit. Vawda also said that he would accept any punishment that the court decides.

The CJP then told Vawda that he should also resign from his Senate seat, but also noted that the court did not want parliamentarians to become "worthless".

"We will revoke your lifetime ban as the court has repeatedly given relief to senators," the CJP noted.

As Vawda agreed to the unconditional apology and tendering his resignation, the court revoked the lifetime ban and allowed him to contest in the next elections.