Monday June 27, 2022

22 months on, ECP axe falls on Faisal Vawda

February 10, 2022
22 months on, ECP axe falls on Faisal Vawda

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday disqualified ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Senator and former MNA and federal minister Faisal Vawda under Article-62 (1) (f) in a dual citizenship case.

In the 27-page judgment, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) said that Faisal Vawda had submitted a false affidavit while submitting nomination papers for the 2018 elections. It is worth mentioning here that The News investigative reporter Fakhar Durrani broke the story about Vawda’s dual citizenship.

The Supreme Court had ruled in April 2018 that disqualification handed down under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution is for life. Following the judgment, the ECP also denotified him as senator. He was notified as a returned member of the Senate on March 10, last year.

“…in exercise of powers under Article-218 (3) of the Constitution read with Section 8(C) of the Elections Act, 2017, we conclude and hold that the respondent at the time of filing his nomination papers…was not eligible/qualified person in terms of Article-63(1) (c) of the Constitution and had submitted a false affidavit and declaration to this effect which squarely falls within the ambit of Article-62 (1) (f) of the Constitution. Resultantly, the respondent is directed to refund all monetary benefits drawn by him for the period during which he occupied the seat of National Assembly and held public office and drew his emoluments from the public exchequer, including monthly remunerations, TA/DA, facilities, accommodation along with other perks, which shall be deposited with the National Assembly Secretary within a period of two months…,” the judgment says.

The ECP had reserved its decision on disqualification petitions against Vawda on December 23, 2021.

The vote cast by him in the Senate elections as a member of the National Assembly was also declared incorrect. The ECP’s three-member bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, said that the respondent had made himself suspicious by his actions. He voted in the Senate election as a member of the National Assembly and the same day he resigned as MNA, after which he also presented himself as a candidate for the Senate.

Vawda was accused of concealing his dual citizenship while contesting the National Assembly seat from Karachi in the 2018 general elections. He faced three petitions, filed by Mian Asif Mehmood, Qadir Khan Mandokhail, Mian Muhammad Faisal and Dost Ali Jessar.

The disqualification case has been pending for more than 22 months. The case was also heard in the Islamabad High Court. An application was filed in 2018 by Qadir Mandokhel against Vawda's dual citizenship. The petition states that at the time Vawda filed his nomination papers for the National Assembly, he was a dual national and a US citizen.

The petition also said that while contesting the elections, he had filed an affidavit in the ECP stating that he was not a citizen of any other country. The petition contended that since he had submitted a false affidavit, he was disqualified under Article 62 (1) (f) of the Constitution.

During the hearing of the petition, the lawyer for the former minister said that Vawda did not lie as he had got cancelled his foreign passport before submitting the nomination papers. Vawda's lawyer submitted his birth certificate in the ECP stating that Faisal Vawda was born in the US state of California and was a US citizen by birth.

Asim Yasin adds: Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed his delight on the ECP decision of former federal minister Faisal Vawda's life time disqualification in dual nationality case while congratulating the PPP legal team and said that one more PTI wicket was down. Following the ECP decision Bilawal tweeted from his twitter account, “One more #PTI wicket down. Congratulations #teamPPP.”

He later on shared from his twitter account, the ECP notification of declaring the Senate seat of Faisal Vawda as vacant following the disqualification verdict.

PPP Secretary Faisal Karim Kundi said PPP's Qadir Mandokhel brought the lies of Faisal Vawda to a logical conclusion. “Faisal Vawda's lie has been exposed,” he said.

Faisal Karim Kundi said now it’s turn of Imran Khan as he was now trying to flee justice. “ The Election Commission of Pakistan should also announces decision on Foreign Funding case,” he said. Talking to media persons, meanwhile, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said that Faisal Vawda would exercise his legal right and would challenge the ECP decision in the Supreme Court.