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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has summoned former senator Faisal Vawda on Friday (today) to regret and admit that he misstated before apex court and the high court about his dual nationality.

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Bandial, on Thursday, heard an appeal of Vawda, against the verdicts of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), disqualifying him for life under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.

The chief justice said if Vawda admits and regrets that he misstated before the High Court about his dual nationality and before the Supreme Court he relied upon his cancelled passport to show that had renounced the US nationality well before. If he does this then 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 the gentleman on Friday at 10:30 am and provide his Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States.

The CJP said: “We have enough material about misstatement,” adding “this is [a] factually clear case that the petitioner (Vawda) made efforts to mislead the court.”

Disqualification case: Vawda submitted expired foreign passport to ECP, notes SC

The CJP further said with disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) the consequences follow.

He asked the counsel that you wanted to say that the process of 62(1)(f) should be applied carefully, and due process has not been followed in this case.

Justice Ayesha asked Waseem Sajjad that now your client says that I am not a dual national. But there is an affidavit submitted by him. If you have given the wrong affidavit, and it is proved that the affidavit was false then criminal proceedings are separate. Justice Mansoor said that affidavit submitted before the Election Commission is purely constitutional.

The chief justice said when the eligibility of Vawda was challenged then he should have said he made a mistake and has relinquished the assembly membership. But Vawda challenged the matter in every forum, including the Supreme Court. He asked Waseem Sajjad whether his client wanted electoral disqualification or lifetime, adding the lifetime disqualification will have serious consequences.

An ECP bench, led by Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja, had disqualified PTI’s 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 has sought to set aside a declaration by the ECP on February 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”.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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