ISLAMABAD            -      The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Friday accepted an application for early hearing of a petition seeking disqualification of Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda for allegedly concealing his US nationality at the time of filing his nomination papers to contest the last general elections.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq conducted hearing of the application filed by a lawyer Mian Faisal Advocate while the court had already issued notices to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and other respondents in this matter.

The counsel mentioned that in this matter the last hearing was held on January 29, 2020 and Vawda has not submitted his response to the court so far in the case. He added that the respondents want to intentionally delay the case.

He maintained that the case needs the attention of this court on urgent basis as fundamental rights of the petitioner as well as the general public are involved.  

In his petition, Mian Faisal stated that Vawda contested the elections from NA-249 (West-II) Karachi in July 2018 on a ticket of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI). However, he was a dual national at the time of filing of his nomination papers, concealing his American nationality by falsely declaring on oath before the ECP that “he did not have any foreign nationality.”

The petition, while mentioning documents of Vawda rescinding US nationality, pointed out that the minister was a US citizen at the time of submitting his nomination papers on June 11, 2018, and even during the scrutiny of his nomination papers while the returning officer of his electoral constituency approved his papers on June 18.

The petition maintained, “It was only after this approval that respondent No 1 [Vawda] applied for renunciation of his US nationality at the US Consulate, Karachi, on June 22.” It added that the US Consulate issued the renunciation certificate to Vawda on June 25.

Moreover, the petition stated that Vawda had on June 11, 2018 also submitted an affidavit claiming that he was not a dual national, whereas, till that time, his foreign nationality was intact.

It mentioned, “It is held in the judgment [of Supreme Court] that if anybody files a false affidavit, it will be considered he is filing the affidavit before the Supreme Court of Pakistan.” It continued that the Supreme Court has in one of its judgments categorically directed that candidates who previously held dual nationalities should have renunciation certificates at the time of filing of nomination papers.

The petitioner maintained that Vawda “contested the election of National Assembly while submitting false declaration and hiding his dual nationality” which makes him “liable to be disqualified under the Constitution and law of the land.”