ISLAMABAD: Commenting about Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda’s disqualification case, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja has said that the verdict in the case would be made on the basis of merit.According to a news report published in The News, the hearing of the case of disqualification of Vawda on dual citizenship was held under the chairmanship of the chief election commissioner in Islamabad.
The petitioner’s counsel said if Faisal Vawda was a big man and he could not be asked, the returning officer should be asked to explain why he accepted the nomination papers despite the PTI leader’s dual citizenship.Responding to this, the CEC remarked that no matter how big someone was, it had no effect on the Election Commission.
The commission would decide on merit, no one would be affected, he said, adding that Vawda had written N/A in the dual citizenship box while submitting nomination papers.When asked about whether Vawada held dual citizenship at the time of submission, Vawda’s lawyer Muhammad bin Mohsin replied that the minister did not have dual citizenship at that time.
To which the CEC asked whether he had dual citizenship before and on what date he renounced dual citizenship.The lawyer replied that he would have to take guidance in this regard. Expressing indignation over the response, Member of Election Commission Altaf lambasted that it was a delaying tactic that ‘you will tell with guidance’.
Lawyer Muhammad bin Mohsin said that Faisal Wawda had dual citizenship and there was no dispute over it.The ECP top official said that he had admitted that Vawda had dual citizenship and asked when Faisal Vawda gave up his dual citizenship.The Election Commission has given the last chance to the federal minister’s lawyer to reply and adjourned the hearing of the disqualification case till February 9.
Vawda had won the 2018 general election from Karachi’s NA-249 constituency.In January this year, an investigative report published in The News had revealed that Vawda may have committed perjury by falsely declaring in an oath to the ECP that he did not hold any foreign nationality.
According to The News, Vawda was in possession of a United States passport at the time he filed his nomination papers on June 11, 2018. The minister remained an American national even at the time the scrutiny of his nomination papers were completed.
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.