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Thursday December 01, 2022

Faisal Vawda used expired passport to prove single nationality, says SC judge

Justice Ayesha Malik says cancelled passport presented before returning officer in 2018 had expired in 2015

By Web Desk
October 19, 2022
A file photo of PTI leader Faisal Vawda. — Online
A file photo of PTI leader Faisal Vawda. — Online

ISLAMABAD: A Supreme Court judge on Wednesday said PTI leader Fasial Vawda submitted an expired passport to the election commission to prove the renunciation of his US citizenship, which brings another lie to light.

The observation was made by Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, one of the members of a three-judge bench, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, while hearing Vawda’s appeal against his disqualification for life under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution. Justice Ayesha Malik is the third member of the bench.

In February, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had disqualified Vawda for deliberately holding back his US citizenship and asked him to deposit all the salaries and benefits received as a minister and as Member National Assembly in two months. Vawda was also de-notified as a senator.

During the hearing, Vawda’s counsel argued that the returning officer had thoroughly examined the PTI leader’s cancelled passport and was satisfied.

“But the cancelled passport that you are relying on was expired,” observed Justice Ayesha Malik.

She said the cancelled passport that was presented before the returning officer in 2018 had expired in 2015.

“When you get a new passport made, the older one is stamped as cancelled,” Justice Malik added. “How can a cancelled passport be evidence of renunciation of US citizenship?” Justice Malik asked.

She also pointed up that the passport numbers of the one on record and the one cancelled did not match.

“This anomaly proves a new passport was issued as it had expired long ago,” she said.

The CJP said it had become a "grave" matter.

Vawda’s lawyer then argued that the text of the affidavit — that his client had given when he had filed his nomination papers for a National Assembly seat — clearly showed the PTI leader did not have a passport from another country.

At that, Justice Shah said the mention of “passport in the affidavit was tantamount to having the nationality of another country”.

Vawda’s lawyer argued that the ECP was not authorised to disqualify a person for life. “But the high court does have the power to disqualify someone for life,” replied Justice Shah. Later, Vawda’s lawyer sought more time from the court for preparation.

“You will not have answers to these questions even next week,” said Justice Shah before the court was adjourned. The next date of hearing is yet to be announced.