SC sets aside Vawda's lifetime disqualification

PTI leader will remain disqualified as member of parliament till 2023


Our Correspondent November 25, 2022

ISLAMABAD:

The Supreme Court on Friday set aside Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Faisal Vawda’s lifetime disqualification as a lawmaker after he admitted concealing his dual nationality and apologised.

However, Vawda remains disqualified under Article 63(1)(c) of the Constitution for the current term (till 2023) as a legislator.

A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice (CJ) Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Ayesha Malik heard Vawda’s appeal against the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) decision, which had upheld the ECP's ruling regarding his disqualification due to dual nationalities.

Vawda also gave an undertaking that he would tender his resignation as a senator. Subsequently, the bench decided to disqualify him under Article 63(1)(c) and not Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.

In his unconditional apology submitted to the court, Vawda admitted his wrongdoing in the affidavit.

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The court accepted his resignation as a "goodwill gesture" and proceeded to bar him from Senatorship under Article 63(1)(c), revoking his lifetime disqualification. As per the court orders, he is eligible to contest the next general or Senate elections.

At the last hearing, the SC had said that Vawda should either admit his mistake and be disqualified under 63(1)(c), or the court would proceed with the case under 62(1)(f).

CJ Bandial had also added that there was enough material before the court to disqualify Vawda for life.

The CJ had emphasised that Vawda must admit his mistake in writing. The PTI leader must appear before the court and admit that he changed the date of his dual citizenship, directing his lawyer to bring his client’s renunciation certificate of US citizenship.

The lawyer had argued that the ECP was not a court of law, therefore “it did not have the power to disqualify anyone for life”.

The chief justice told the lawyer that there was material before the court that proved that Vawda gave a false affidavit.

Justice Malik had said that if the ECP had no power, the IHC had the authority to declare the lifelong disqualification.

Justice Mansoor Shah asked the lawyer why the SC could not disqualify him for life with the evidence before the court.

The court observed that Vawda had told many lies to cover up one lie, adding that he submitted the affidavit not for a job but for the election. Being honest and trustworthy was a condition for contesting elections, the judge had emphasised. “There is no room for mistake in politics,” he said.

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