SC summons Vawda to admit he misstated about dual nationality

ISLAMABAD   -         Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday summoned former Senator Faisal Vawda to appear before it on Friday (today) and admit that he misstated before the court about his dual nationality. A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umer Ata Bandial conducted hearing of an appeal of PTI former senator Faisal Vawda, against the verdicts of Islamabad High Court (IHC) and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), disqualifying him for life under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution. During the hearing, the Chief Justice said that if Faisal Vawda admits and regrets that he misstated before the High Court about his dual nationality and before the Supreme Court you relied upon your cancelled passport to show that you have renounced your US nationality then he will be disqualified under Article 63(1)(c), but if he contests his case then he could be disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution. The bench then ordered Waseem Sajjad, representing Faisal Vawda, to bring gentleman today at 10:30am and provide his Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States. The Chief Justice said that they have enough material about misstatement. Justice Bandial said that this is factually a clear case. The petitioner (Vawda) made efforts to mislead the court. He further said with the disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) the consequences follow. He added that the process of 62(1)(f) be applied carefully. Justice Ayesha asked Waseem Sajjad that now your client says that I am not dual national. But there is an affidavit submitted by him. If you have given the wrong affidavit, and it is proved that affidavit was false then criminal proceeding are separate. Justice Mansoor said that affidavit submitted before the Election Commission is purely constitutional. The Chief Justice said that when eligibility of Vawda was challenged then he should have said he made mistake and have relinquished the assembly membership. But Faisal Vawda challenged the matter in every forum, including the Supreme Court. He asked Waseem Sajjad whether his client wanted electoral disqualification or life-time. He added that the life-time disqualification will have serious consequences. An ECP bench, led by Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja, had disqualified PTI’s Faisal Vawda for concealing his dual nationality with a direction to return the salary and other benefits he had received as a minister and National Assembly member within two months. He was also de-notified as a Senator. In March 2021, Vawda resigned as an MNA after being elected as a Senator and his lawyer contended that a dual nationality case against the lawmaker was “not valid now”. In his petition, Vawda sought to set aside a declaration by the ECP on Feb 9 which led to his disqualification as a lawmaker for life. Vawda pleaded that the ECP had cited no reason for invoking Article 62(1f) of the Constitution to disqualify him for life. The commission appears to be under an impression that any person disqualified under Article 63(1c) — for having dual nationality — could automatically be penalised under Article 62(1f), he said. In order to incur a penalty under Article 62(1)(f), there must be mens rea (criminal intent) as well as evidence before a court of law, the petitioner said, but “both are missing in the ECP’s pronouncement”.

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