PTI senator Faisal Vawda disqualifies by ECP for concealing dual nationality

 Faisal Vawda submitted wrong affidavit regarding his American nationality in his nomination papers in 2018

PTI senator Faisal Vawda has been disqualified as a senator by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for concealing his dual nationality and submitting a false affidavit. It is a big political setback for PTI. PPP candidate in 2018 and now MNA Qadir Mandokhel challenged Vawda’s candidature as being dual national. The ECP has finally announced its verdict in this case after hearing the case for nearly three and half years.

Faisal Vawda resigned from the National Assembly to contest senate elections last year. He was elected senator from Sindh on PTI ticket. Vawda tried everything to delay the case in last three and half years.

A three-member ECP bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja announced the verdict today, which was reserved on December 23 on a petition seeking disqualification of Vawda for concealing his dual nationality at the time of filing his election nomination papers in 2018.

The ECP bench had reserved its ruling after the complainant PPP MNA Qadir Khan Mandokhel completed his arguments. In its judgment, the ECP observed that Faisal Vawda had submitted a wrong affidavit at the time of filing his election nomination papers in 2018.

The ECP also declared him ineligible for holding the seat of a senator and ordered to withdraw the notification issued in this regard. Vawda can approach the Supreme Court against the verdict, said the ECP.

The PTI leader had resigned from his National Assembly seat to conceal his crime, the ECP observed, and directed him to return all the perks and financial benefits which he had availed as a lawmaker in two months.

In the last hearing, CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja had asked Mandokhel whether he wanted to present more documents or give additional arguments. Mandokhel had said it was the 30th hearing of the case but he could not get the answers to his questions. The PPP leader had said, “ECP has been issuing warnings for the last one-and-a-half years.”

Mandokhel was of the view that Faisal Vawda had held US nationality at the time of filing his election nomination papers. He had said that the concerned RO was not punished as he had rejected his papers instead of disqualifying Vawda.

The PPP leader had said that Vawda had falsely declared in an oath to the ECP that he did not hold any foreign nationality, adding "the PTI leader had concealed his dual nationality during the scrutiny of his nomination papers."

Vawda’s counsel, however, had rejected the allegations, saying that his client never applied for another country's nationality. He had said Vawda was born in the US and that his client had cancelled his American passport.

Vawda had won the 2018 general election from Karachi's NA-249 constituency defeating PML-N president and opposition leader in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif with a close margin of nearly 700 votes. Qadir Mandokhel of PPP won the by election on this seat.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan in a past judgment has categorically ruled that candidates who hold dual nationality are supposed to submit a renunciation certificate of the foreign nationality along with their nomination papers.

The same judgment has previously led to the disqualification of various lawmakers, notable among whom Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senators Saadia Abbasi and Haroon Akhtar.

                                                                           Web Desk       

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