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July 2, 2020

Questions that vex Faisal Vawda

Top Story

July 2, 2020

ISLAMABAD: On Tuesday night, Faisal Vawda broke his silence after almost 20 months. An investigative reporter had been after him since November 2018, with an intention to ask pertinent questions which Vawda doesn’t want to be asked. Therefore, as he decided to respond through twitter to the journalist, he behaved like a bully instead of acting like a federal minister. He attempted to berate and belittle Fakhar Durrani, an investigative reporter with The News who dug into his past which is riddled with fraud allegations, financial malpractices, concealment of foreign properties and forgery in documents of citizenship, among others.

Fakhar sent him questions many a time and Vawda didn’t answer any of them other than once saying “[please] go ahead”, that he did. Fakhar reported them one by one documenting the allegations through official record. In a normal situation, heavens would have fallen and the media would have been hounding the accused had he not been Vawda. He has literally enjoyed full immunity from any kind of criticism. This was much to the dismay of Fakhar who was critical of the media’s double-standards in dealing with the powerful and the weak.

It was not only media observing silence; a case based on Fakhar’s story has been pending with Election Commission of Pakistan for six months. A couple of petitions in different courts have failed to make any headway either. National Accountability Bureau is too busy in hounding opposition to go after the powerful ministers like Vawda. Fakhar felt frustrated in this environment where corrupt can be granted clean chit and innocent can be branded corrupt. It was in this background, he would alleviate his frustration by tweeting his stories that went unnoticed. He would urge anchors in vain to do programmes on Vawda promising that he would provide them with evidence. He would also encourage Vawda to deny if the allegations were false.

Finally, Vawda decided to respond late Tuesday night. What emerged, however, it was not response to the stories that Fakhar did. Instead he tried to bully him and said that he had collected evidences against Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and was in wait for him to come out of jail where he has been kept in connection with a fabricated case. At this, Fakhar didn’t lose patience and he repeated the questions that he had been asking for the last 20 months. That was enough to provoke Vawda who went ballistic this time reminding Fakhar of his ‘auqaat’ and that he would expose the Editor-in-Chief of Jang Group. Again, he didn’t reply to the questions. This correspondence intervened at this only to become target of his verbal diarrhoea.

So the question arises what are the questions that provoke Vawda into becoming a troll. Below are the details of his cases which have been highlighted in a series of investigative stories by Fakhar. The questions about his alleged American citizenship, false declaration on oath about his dual nationality, nine hidden luxurious properties in posh areas of London, his dubious degree and Benami land transactions in the name of his employee are what he doesn’t answer. Instead, he becomes reactive and abusive.

On January 20, 2020 The News published a story about his American citizenship which he concealed and lied on oath while submitting his nomination papers in General Elections 2018 that he didn’t have any foreign nationality. The last date to file nomination papers for the elections held in July 2018 was June 8 and later extended for another three days. Taking his document as an evidence, Vawda submitted election papers on the last date — June 11, 2018 —along with an affidavit wherein he declared himself holding no citizenship other than that of Pakistan. The Returning Officer (RO) of NA-249 Karachi, his electoral constituency, approved his nomination papers on June 18, 2018. It was only after this approval that Vawda applied for renunciation of his US nationality in the US Consulate, Karachi, meaning thereby he was American citizen at the time of filing nomination papers.

Vawda applied for revocation of his American citizenship in US Consulate Karachi on June 22, 2018 (Friday). Normally the process of renunciation of US nationality takes weeks or even months because it requires clearance from all the concerned departments. However, the US Consulate issued the ‘Certificate of Loss of Nationality’ to Vawda on next working day i.e. June 25, 2018 (Monday), reveal the documents available with The News.

The News contacted Faisal Vawda on March 27, 2019 and sent a questionnaire via WhatsApp to ask whether he has surrendered his US nationality or not. However, he did not answer the questions. Vawda was again sent a questionnaire on April 10, 2019, but this time he took no time to respond and replied to Fakhar with only three words, “Pls go ahead.”

Besides his dual nationality Vawda concealed nine lavish properties in posh areas of London and allegedly didn’t declare them in Pakistan. The alleged nine properties under question are of worth billions of rupees. However, neither the properties nor the money obtained through the sale of these flats and houses were ever reflected in the wealth statement and nomination papers of Vawda. These properties were located at the heart of London: five of them were situated at Edgware Road, two at Water Gardens and one each at Stourcliffe Street and Cambridge Square.

The properties which Vawda allegedly owned at some point of time between 2007 and 2016 but did not declare include,

Title No. NGL 361763, Flat 603, Park West, Edgware Road, London W2 2RB

Title No. NGL 403293, Flat 466, Park West, Edgware Road, London W2 2QU

Title No. NGL 382324, Flat 368, Park West, Edgware Road, London W2 2QS

Title No. NGL 400830, Flat 489, Park West, Edgware Road, London, W2 2QS

Title No. NGL 371378, Flat 567, Park West, Edgware Road, London, W22RA

Title No. NGL 773727, Flat 24, Stourcliffe Close, Stourcliffe Street, London W1H 5AQ

Title No. NGL 946951, 9 Water Gardens, Stanmore HA73 Q1

Title No. NGL 947677, 118 The Water Gardens London, W2 2DD

Title No. NGL 948683, Flat 128 Quadrangle Tower, Cambridge Square, London W2 2PL

Vawda was approached for his detailed version on these properties on March 07, 2019, but instead of giving any details he refused to comment and sent a text on this scribe’s WhatsApp, “Thanks brother no version from my side as the matter is in the court and I can’t comment this is what the lawyer said,”

The PTI minister also concealed his properties in Pakistan and kept them Benamidar under his servant’s name. According to documents, Sher Nawaz Khan bearing CNIC No. 42501-4069125-9 owned two commercial properties No.22-C and No.24-C, Phase V, Khayaban-e-Tanzeem, DHA. Sher Nawaz signed an agreement with a private commercial bank to sell these two properties on June 08, 2006, for Rs465 million. However, once the agreement was done between Sher Nawaz Khan and the bank, Vawda jumped in and approached the bank and presented a power of attorney given to him by Sher Nawaz (his employee at that time) to deal all the matter related to these properties.

In a later litigation before Sindh High Court (SHC) on the issue of sale-purchase agreement of these two properties, the said bank submitted before the SHC that Vawda informed the bank that Sher Nawaz Khan was his employee and he (Vawda) was the real and beneficial owner of these Properties.

Vawda not only concealed his dual nationality and foreign properties but he is allegedly one of the beneficiaries of whitening of black money scheme (Tax Amnesty Scheme 2018) during the last regime. He paid Rs5.8 million tax against five foreign properties worth Rs194 million in the United Kingdom, Dubai and Malaysia, official documents reveal.

The federal minister declared five properties to avail himself of the tax amnesty scheme 2018 introduced by PML-N government. These properties include Flat 177, Quadrangle Tower, Cambridge Square, London W2 2PJ, Flat 2, 292 Elgin Avenue, London W9 1JS, Flat 4, 19-20, Hyde Park Place, London W2 2LP, Atlantic Towers Apartment, No 306 Dubai Marina, Dubai and L17, 123 & L17, 125 Resort Suits at Pyramid Tower, Sunway Resort Hotel SDN BHD. The total value of these five properties has been shown Rs194,187,000. By paying 3 percent tax on these properties, the federal minister paid Rs5,825,610 to the tax authorities under tax amnesty scheme 2018.

Earlier this year, Fakhar had contacted Vawda and sent him a detailed questionnaire about his foreign properties but he gave no response to any of the query.

Beside the concealment of his foreign properties and US citizenship, Vawda’s educational credentials are also doubtful. In the past, he claimed to be a graduate of an American university but his nomination papers show he did B.Com only.

Vawda’s alleged ex-wife has also levelled some serious allegations of producing fake and forged marriage deed (Nikahnama). Vawda was sent a detailed questionnaire about his bachelor’s degree, his tax record and the allegations of fake Nikahnama on February 17. He was repeatedly reminded about this questionnaire but he did not respond.

On February 17, 2020 Vawda had been sent a detailed questionnaire about his dubious education credentials and allegations levelled by his ex-wife. He was reminded repeatedly for his version for almost a week but he did not respond.