IHC dismisses Faisal Vawda’s plea challenging lifetime disqualification

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FEDERAL MINISTER FOR WATER RESOURCES, MUHAMMAD FAISAL VAWDA ADDRESSING A PRESS CONFERENCE IN ISLAMABAD ON OCTOBER 22, 2018.

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday dismissed former federal minister Faisal Vawda’s plea seeking the revocation of his lifetime disqualification. An Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) bench on February 9 had announced the verdict in the PTI leader’s dual nationality case, disqualifying him as a lawmaker. “…the Court has not been able to persuade itself that the impugned order, dated 09-02-2022, suffers from any legal infirmity requiring interference. The petition is, therefore, accordingly dismissed,” IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah — who heard the case — said in the judgement. Justice Minallah said the date for being qualified to be a member of the Parliament was the date when the nomination papers were filed. “…the process of relinquishment of the foreign nationality should have been completed and concluded before submission of the nomination papers,” the judge noted. The IHC noted that it is, indeed, a settled law that when a citizen of Pakistan has acquired the citizenship of a foreign state, the latter shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen or being a member of the Parliament until and unless such legal status — being a citizen of a foreign state — was obliterated or extinguished. The judge said the petitioner had contested from NA 249, Karachi, in the general elections held in 2018. His notification as a member of the National Assembly was challenged before various forums, including the IHC. In the petitions against Vawda, it was alleged that he had filed a false affidavit to get elected as an MNA. However, “for reasons best known to him”, the former federal minister’s conduct before the IHC remained “evasive” and he kept delaying the proceedings on one pretext or the other. After delaying the proceedings for more than one year, he informed the court that he had resigned as a member of the National Assembly — leading to the dismissal of the petition against him. Soon after his resignation, Vawda was elected as a member of the Senate of Pakistan. “It appears from the record that instead of establishing his bonafides by producing a certificate of renunciation of citizenship, proceedings were delayed by the petitioner before the Commission,” the IHC said. Justice Minallah noted it was not “pleasant” for the court to disqualify an elected member of the Parliament. “…the courts claim no supremacy over organs that represent the people of Pakistan. “The petitioner’s conduct has led to disqualification of an elected representative and, regrettably, he alone is responsible for the consequences,” it added.

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