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Tuesday December 06, 2022

Faisal Vawda's lifetime disqualification revoked after apology to SC

SC declares former PTI leader eligible to contest next general elections

November 25, 2022
Former PTI member Faisal Vawda addresses a presser in Islamabad. — Radio Pakistan/File
Former PTI member Faisal Vawda addresses a presser in Islamabad. — Radio Pakistan/File

The Supreme Court annulled the lifetime disqualification of former PTI leader Faisal Vawda as a lawmaker and declared him eligible to contest the next general elections after he apologised in court on Friday.

A three-member SC 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), issued on February 9.

Vawda sought an unconditional apology from the apex court for submitting a false affidavit regarding his US citizenship.

The ECP had 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 CJP had summoned Vawda to court today to give him a chance to apologise and accept his mistake.

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 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 to contest the elections — as he had submitted a fake affidavit.

Today's hearing

At the start of today's hearing, 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 to revoke your US citizenship, but it was never accepted."

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

Justice Shah asked Vawda what the date on his citizenship revocation certificate is and when he resigned 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," the CJP said.

The CJP told Vawda that he had been misleading everyone for the last three years. 

"If you apologise before the court with good intentions, your disqualification will be limited to five years. In case you do not resign, 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" to submit 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 the next elections.